QC spox questions Defensor’s ‘political maturity’ after challenging Mayor Belmonte to resign

Quezon City's official spokesperson Pia Morato questioned on Friday, Feb. 4, the "political maturity" of Rep. Mike Defensor after the latter challenged Mayor Joy Belmonte to resign over alleged Commission on Audit (COA) “adverse findings” on local government's purchase of pandemic food packs.

Earlier, Anakalusugan Rep. Defensor, who is running for the city’s mayoral post, said that he is willing to resign as member of Congress if the COA report that shows adverse findings on the city government's use of the P479 million COVID-19 pandemic financial assistance granted by the national government is "fake news".

“If Mayor Joy Belmonte can prove that it is fake news, then I am willing to resign as a member of Congress. If she cannot, then she should resign,” Defensor was quoted as saying

Morato has expressed disappointment over the lawmaker's dare.

"It's actually so sad that Congressman Defensor has regressed into the version of himself, where he is now issuing childish challenges to a dignified lady mayor" Morato said.

"Uso po ito noong nasa kindergarten tayo, away-bata tapos aalis na lang sa playground ‘yung isa (This happened when we were in kindergarten, childish arguments wherein one would just leave the playground). Having said that, he should be careful about issuing a resignation, because the facts have already been established, and they are definitely not in his favor," the city spokesperson added.

She said Defensor's allegations were inaccurate on several points as verified by different news outlets.

She specifically rebuffed Defensor’s inaccurate statement issued on Jan. 23, asserting that “in a new report published on the COA website, state auditors said the Quezon City government’s purchase violated the Procurement Law and its implementing regulations, as well as accounting rules.”

Morato said the COA Annual Audit report being cited by Defensor was actually published on the agency’s website on July 19, 2021, or seven months ago.

The said report, Morato noted, did not say it found violations of procurement laws in the transactions.

She explained that the COA is just reminding the local government regarding some pending documents which it submitted weeks after the report was written.

COA Supervising Auditor and Officer-in-Charge Joseph L. Perez even issued an official document validating Morato's claim that the city has already submitted all the pending documents and has complied with all the state auditor's requirements

"If we wanted to engage in this pettiness, we would have already sent Congressman Defensor the address where he can send his resignation letter," Morato said.

“We have no time for this nonsense, however. Mayor Joy and her city officials are too busy attending to the needs of her constituents, and ensuring that her comprehensive post-pandemic recovery plan and inclusive growth programs are fully implemented. I urge Cong. Mike to try this sometime, I’m sure his Anak Kalusugan constituents would be pleasantly surprised to feel his presence,” the city spokesperson added .

Read more: https://mb.com.ph/2022/02/05/defensor-on-flagged-p479-m-qc-pandemic-spending-find-out-truth-at-coa-gov-ph/