Public officials are accountable

The City Council in Cagayan De Oro City has passed a resolution ordering the Local Finance Committee (LFC) to provide the local august body complete listing of the city government’s savings from 2013 until the current and prior years.

Whether the LFC would acknowledge the resolution is another issue. However, there are already insinuations that the LFC is not bent on heeding the resolution. One should know that the members of the city’s LFC are personally chosen by the City Executive.

It is of public knowledge that the incumbent City Executive and the City Council are always locked in controversy, particularly on the issue of spending the taxpayers’ money.

While it is admitted that the Executive and the Legislative Department in the local government exercise coequal powers, this practice is perennial disregarded by any of the department. This condition occurs when both bodies belong to the other side of the political fence.

The motive of the City Council to require the LFC to submit a “comprehensive and detail listing of the city’s savings from 2013” to present, and the prior years might have the best of the intentions.

For instance, the City Council would like to know how much savings the city government have for the year 2013 and 2014. The submission of the comprehensive listing might have been purposely intended so that the local august body would know how these savings were “actually spent.”

A City Councilor expressed the doubt that the City Council have approved Ordinances appropriating the city’s savings for the payments of various claims and obligations. Thus, perhaps, it would be just fair for the members of the City Council on whether these funds were actually spent for the intended purpose.

There was also the need to know the exact savings of the city government from 2013 at the time when City Mayor Oscar Moreno exercised his powers as the city’s Chief Executive.

The City Council also wants to know the savings prior to Moreno’s time, apparently, to make a comparison on how the incumbent administration and the previous administration spent the savings of the city government.

For the ordinary taxpayer, the action taken by the City Council is laudable. At least, as an ordinary citizen, a resident of Cagayan De Oro has the right to be informed on how the taxpayers’ money is spent.

Granting without admitting that the resolution is politically motivated, is there anything wrong when the resolution is obviously intended to account for the taxpayers’ money?

Perhaps, one would agree that it is, but necessary that in the spirit of transparency, the officials of the local government, especially the elective officials should be made accountable to the public.

Otherwise, if we will simply allow the public officials to spend the taxpayers’ money sans accountability, the existence of the government becomes futile. A political difference is not an excuse to allow public officials immune from accountability and culpability. -0-

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