THE supplier of the controversial chickens meant for a poverty alleviation initiative of the Iloilo City government insisted that it met the terms of reference (TOR) of the P3.4-million project funded by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).
Faced by the possibility of not getting paid and, worse, being blacklisted from future City Hall deals, Gaspar Igona of Foodwealth Agrovet Trading said they followed the requirements set in their contract.
“I have a contract signed by our beloved city mayor, I rely on the contract. I have delivered the goods, which the city government received,” said Igona during the Committee of the Whole investigation into the deal at the SP Session Hall, Oct. 12, 2017.
The chicken dispersal project of the city government implemented by the City Agriculture Office is under fire after some beneficiaries complained that the chicks they received are below the 300-gram requirement as stated in the Integrated Community Food Production (ICFP) Project funded by the National Anti-Poverty Commission.
Others claimed that the supplier did not follow the required ratio of 1 rooster to 4 hens.
Igona brought samples of the chickens to prove his point, insisting that the 1,875 chickens he delivered in Mandurriao, Molo, Lapaz, and Jaro, all weighed 300 grams each.
“But they did not give me chance to show to the public what are chicks and what I actually delivered. How are we going to know that I am misleading them or if someone is misleading them?” he said.
He also stressed that if indeed the chickens he delivered did not meet the TOR, the city hall inspector should have rejected them.
The supplier, who is also a barangay councilor, warned that he will fight for his right before the court if City Hall refuses to pay.
“If they will not pay me, I will fight for it, I will subject them to my lawyer,” Igona told reporters after the investigation.
Igona appealed to councilors to hear his “sincerity in telling and uplifting the truth”.
But he later contradicted his own statement when he said: “Pero kun may kapaltahan man ko, pasensyahan n’yo ko; pero kun wala ko kapaltahan, batuan ko gid kamu ya kay may ginatindugan ko nga TOR kag PO (Purchase Order) nga ginpirmahan sang atong ginpalangga nga mayor (If I am at fault, forgive me. But if I’m right, I will fight because I stand by the TOR and the purchase order which our beloved mayor signed).”
Councilor Ely Estante, committee of the whole chairperson, said the investigation confirmed discrepancies and irregularities in the second phase of the P10-million ICFP project.
Estante based his observations on the result of the investigation conducted by the Internal Audit Services Office (IASO) under lawyer Mary Joan Montaño.
“There was no inspection, no healthy certification of city veterinarian, the delivery venue was not held at General Services Office but in district plazas, and the identification of beneficiaries,” Estante said.
Estante said he is not discounting the probability that the concerned city hall offices were also remiss in their obligations.
“May ara kapaltahan ang city government, may ara man ang supplier; pero siling nila waay pa ma-consummate (ang transaction) kay wala pa nabaydan,” Estante explained.
But while this is true, Estante explained that the process was consummated – from the bidding to distribution, “meaning, there is still discrepancy, irregularity,” he said.
Estante deferred his opinion on the possibility of rescinding the contract saying this has legal implications, thus the City Legal Office must be consulted.
But he said the body agreed to hold the payment until all issues are settled.
Councilor Plaridel Nava called for the blacklisting of Foodwealth, which has also been involved in questionable transactions in the past.
Earlier, Acting Mayor Joe Espinosa said he will not approve the payment of Igona’s goods unless all questions were answered but welcomed remedies as suggested by the IASO report.
These remedies include: forfeiture of performance bond, civil liability in case of conviction, liquidated damages in case of breach of contract, forfeiture of performance security, among others.