Pandan ex-mayor slams reports on P1-M COA disallowance as politically motivated

Former Pandan Mayor Honesto Tabligan II has branded as “politically motivated” recent reports regarding the Commission on Audit’s disallowance of a P1 million transaction covering the local government unit’s acquisition of a portion of land during his term.

In a press conference in a relative’s house in Calatagan Tibang in Virac, Tabligan indicated that his political rivals are out to embarrass him before public by bringing what he claimed is a valid transaction authorized by the Sangguniang Bayan.

A document purportedly from the COA Provincial Satellite Auditing Office states that a notice of suspension had been issued on March 1, 2021 on the payment of P1,000,000.00 to Reynaldo Talan and that the transaction is part of the total P8.2 million audit suspensions, disallowances and charges found in the audit of various transactions of the Pandan LGU as of March 31, 2021.

In the meeting with some members of the local media. Tabligan admitted that his administration at the time purchased a 2,500-square meter property from Talan that was intended to be a relocation site and at the same time the site of a convention center as Hiyop then was proposed to be a center for tourism.

The project was supposedly to be funded by a P50 million allocation from then Congressman Hector Sanchez.

The acquisition of the lot, he said, was authorized by a resolution from the municipal council and signed by Vice Mayor Eric Rodriguez.

But while Talan was paid for the lot, he submitted only a tax declaration and failed to produce the title for the purchased property.

According to the DENR, the mayor said, a separate title could not be granted as the property was covered by a prior title.

Apparently, in the post-audit of the transaction, the auditor required the LGU to produce the title for the property and other required documents.

“Magayon su intensyon ko not only for Pandan but for the entire Catanduanes,” Tabligan said. “Wara akong intent na ano pa man, dai man nag agi sako, duly authorized ako…”

He said Talan is willing to return the money paid by the LGU but asked the latter to first cancel the deed of sale.

Pointing out that he is already a private person, he called on his detractors to look at those involved in the transaction.

The accusations against him is unfair, he said, as his intentions were pure and not a cent of the money went into his pocket.

“Pag may audit na arog kaito, dai man gustong sabihon iguang anomaly, ibig sabihon lang kaito dai ka nagsunod sa proseso kan mga dokumento,” Tabligan stressed.

It will be the LGU which should resolve the matter before it becomes a COA finding next year, he said, as it is just a matter of cancelling the sale to enable Talan to return the money.

With regards to the Paraiso ni Honesto property, the former chief executive alleged that the entire 23-hectare land in Hiyop is covered by a title issued in the name of the Heirs of Baldomero but it does not cover the Paraiso lot as it was bought from a different owner.

There is no truth to the Tribune report that the heirs are claiming that their signatures on the deed of sale were fake, with the sale consummated as far back as 2002, Talan reportedly told him.

“I am a buyer in good faith,” Tabligan insisted. “Nabakal ko siya na warang bahid ning kung ano pa man.”

The heirs failed to exercise their rights during the 20-year prescription period after the 2002 sale to Talan, he added, so it should be Talan whom they should go after.

As to the Cease-and-Desist Order (CDO) issued by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), he explained he was never informed about the CDO and that the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer said there were no documents stating that Tabligan was in possession of the property involved.

The order should have been given to the persons developing the resort, he said, as he had already divested the property in 2016.

(to be continued)

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