TESDA favors Senate inquiry into alleged Syjuco couple anomaly

January 19, 2012 11:42 am 

ILOILO CITY, Jan. 19 — Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Joel Villanueva has welcomed the move of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago to call for a Senate inquiry on the alleged “irregularity” done by Iloilo second district Cong. Augusto “Boboy” Syjuco and his wife Judy for illegal transfer of fund from TESDA to two non-government organizations owned by them.

The irregularity was sensed during the time when Syjuco was still TESDA director-general from 2004 to 2010 while his wife was the Congresswoman of Iloilo’s second district, who was replaced by her husband after finishing the three-term period.

“We are open to that in fighting what is the truth. We have done in the past clearing our own room against corrupt practices. This is already an improvement in putting the agency into the right track and will never allow again this to happen,” Villanueva said in a phone interview Wednesday.

According to Villanueva, as he reviews all the TESDA documents, he found out that aside from the Commission of Audit (COA) reports of illegal fund transfer made by former TESDA director Syjuco, there are still pending unliquidated amount as part of the P33.2 million total cash advances done in 2005 and 2009.

He said in 2005, Syjuco has cash advance of P20 million of which P5.3 million is unliquidated while in 2009, a total of P13.4 million was cash advanced and remain to be unliquidated as of present. Villanueva has no idea where these cash advances were used.

Meanwhile, the COA has found out that TESDA had transferred over P58 million to the Tagipusuon Cooperative and Tagipusuon Foundation in 2005 and 2008 to implement a program that provided school supplies to students in the second district of Iloilo.

This is the basis of Santiago in pushing for a Senate inquiry for the probe in aid of legislation. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance chaired by Sen. Franklin Drilon.

Villanueva said it was not part of TESDA’s mandate to transfer fund to any non-government organizations to finance the educational program like purchasing school uniform and supplies. He added that TESDA’s mandate is only to improve technical education and ensure skills development program.

In its 2010 audit report, COA found that P20 million from TESDA’s central office was granted to the Tagipusuon Cooperative, while P38.12 million from Region 6 office was transferred to the Tagipusuon Foundation.

COA noted that Tagipusuon's mandate was to implement livelihood projects and support the government and other organizations in sustainable socioeconomic development programs. (PNA)

DCT/FFC/AJP/MGC/vlo

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