In a dramatic turn of events, former Cordova Mayor, Teche Sitoy-Cho, has come forward to address serious concerns regarding the authenticity of documents presented by the current Cordova Mayor, Cesar Suan. These documents, purportedly obtained from the Commission on Audit (COA), allegedly implicated Sitoy-Cho in the Notice of Suspension issued to the Municipality of Cordova for multiple infrastructure projects and the procurement of a garbage truck, totaling over P14 million.
During a weekly flag ceremony at the municipal grounds on July 17, Mayor Suan presented documents listing Sitoy-Cho as the Responsible Officer for the 11 notices of suspensions addressed to him. However, Sitoy-Cho pointed out significant discrepancies between the documents presented by Mayor Suan and the ones she obtained directly from COA.
According to Sitoy-Cho, the COA documents she obtained showed that the checks for the ten (10) infrastructure projects and one (1) procurement of the garbage truck under her administration were named under different contractors, and payments were made directly to them, not to Sitoy-Cho herself. This revelation cast doubts on the credibility and intentions behind Mayor Suan’s presentation.
In response to the allegations, Former Mayor Sitoy-Cho sought legal counsel to review the matter, seeking to clarify her involvement in the suspension of Cordova’s infrastructure projects. She emphasized that the suspension was a result of Mayor Suan’s administration failing to submit the necessary supporting documents to COA by the deadline on February 14, 2023.
Sitoy-Cho underscored her commitment to transparency and accountability, stating that before the end of her term, she diligently handed over all relevant documents, including those from various departments, to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Mayor Suan himself on June 29, 2022.
Amidst the escalating issue, Sitoy-Cho firmly believes that the current administration should take full responsibility for responding to COA’s requests, which were specifically addressed to Mayor Suan.
On the other hand, Teche Sitoy-Cho released an impassioned counter-statement to the Cordovanhons, defending herself against the accusations made by incumbent Mayor Suan. She called the allegations politically motivated and an attempt to tarnish her reputation for the advancement of Mayor Suan’s political interests.
Sitoy-Cho urged Mayor Suan and Municipal Accountant Vicente Sumalinog not to divert attention from the main issue: the failure of their administration to submit complete financial documents requested by COA for the audit of reports in 2021 and 2022.
In her counter-statement, Sitoy-Cho asserted that the projects implemented during her term were lawfully carried out, and she was not directly involved in the receipt and disbursement of funds. The responsibility for holding the relevant documents and receipts lies with various departments, including the Accounting, Treasury, Bids and Awards Committee, and Budget Office.
She questioned the timing of the audit and emphasized that these projects and transactions were approved by the Sangguniang Bayan 2016-2022, which included Mayor Suan as part of the council that approved the budget.
Sitoy-Cho made a heartfelt plea to the Cordovanhons to uphold the legacy of the late Mayor Sec Addy Sitoy, under whose administration the municipality received awards for “Seal of Good Local Governance & Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping.” Despite no longer holding a position in the municipality, Sitoy-Cho promises to continue serving the people as chairman of the Philippine Red Cross Lapu-Lapu/Cordova Chapter.
As this complex situation unfolds, Sitoy-Cho hopes for cooperation and understanding from all parties involved and urges Mayor Suan to focus on improving leadership skills rather than blaming others for any setbacks.
The Cordovanhons are encouraged to remain faithful to the legacy of their late mayor and stand united in prayer for the continued prosperity of their beloved town.
This ongoing controversy has captured the attention of the public, and the truth behind the alleged discrepancies in the COA documents remains to be fully revealed. (PR)