Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo yesterday lashed out at some media practitioners and outlets in Dumaguete City, for what he called an unfair treatment of a report from the Commission on Audit that he believes has hurt his administration.
In an unusually well-attended press conference at the Capitol, Degamo sent a strong message to his detractors that he is unfazed by this latest strike against his administration, that he said is obviously politically-motivated.
He declined to name the culprit in the circulation of the purported COA report that he claims his office has not received until now.
Degamo was referring to the COA report being discussed by some broadcast and print media practitioners from an unofficial source, a photocopy of which he said, was given to him by the driver of a congressman.
He said the news story first surfaced a few weeks back, and he had refused to comment on it, because his office has not seen or received an official copy yet.
He lamented, though, that those who published the COA report or discussed it on air never attempted to get his side before doing so.
Degamo called their act as “poisoning the minds” of the people. He said he believes that before any COA report goes public, the respondent or whoever is involved, should be the first to be informed of its findings.
Without a formal copy from the COA of that report, he and his provincial administrator, Richard Enojo, are saying that they are firm on their stand that there was no illegitimate disbursement of funds allocated for the province to cushion the impact of typhoon “Sendong”.
Both said this is an old issue being revived by some quarters, who want to put a bad light on the name of the governor as the same issue had already been answered in the past.
The COA report being referred to involves the supposed illegal implementation of projects amounting to more than P149 million that formed part of the hundreds of millions of pesos in calamity funds pledged by President Benigno Aquino III after the province was devastated by “Sendong”.
Degamo said that until his office receives a copy of this COA report, it is a mere “piece of paper” for them at the Capitol.
The report specifies projects, such as river channeling and the deepening, construction and rehabilitation of dikes in many parts of the province that the COA report noted to be “overpriced”.
Some members of the media said while Degamo’s reaction was solicited when the COA report was released, the document they claim to have is authentic.
They did not, however, disclose the source of the document that was the basis of their reports.*JFP