A Former Mayor Fails to Account P3M Cash

Advances Now in Treasure Hunting

      Alejandro Gamos, Sta. Magdalena (Sorsogon)’s former municipal mayor, busies himself hunting “Gen. Yamashita’s Gold” in the hope that the treasures of World War II commander of the Japanese Forces in the Philippines could bail him out of the financial mess he is in after the Commission on Audit (COA) discovered Gamos’ unauthorized and unliquidated cash advances during its annual audit of the municipal coffers.

      In COA’s Audit Report dated September 18, 2007, State Auditor IV Jose Rey Binamira revealed that Gamos was granted, albeit illegally, Php.3,358,484.94 cash advances in 2006 in the form of “Other Receivables”.

      The state auditor noted that it is illegal for the cash advances to be recorded as “other receivables” when in truth it is an amount “Due from Officers and Employees”. Thus it should be reflected in the books as such. But even worse than this is that PHP.600,000.00 of this more than P3M advances is not even recorded.

      The state auditor also lamented the fact that these cash advances by Gamos were granted to him for no specific legal purpose or justification at all. He said COA Circular No. 97-0002 expressly prohibits granting cash advances to elected officials except for official travel expenses. What the state auditor can not understand is why he (Gamos) was still given cash advances despite his failure to liquidate the previous ones.

      Asked to comment on this apparent irregularity, the municipal accountant of Sta. Magdalena says, Gamos kept on assuring him that the advances will be liquidated. Gamos, according to the municipal accountant, promised to “replenish” his almost P3 million cash advances in September this year.

      It is over a month now since the former mayor promised to settle his cash advances with the local government of Sta. Magdalena. The erstwhile mayor, however, has yet to keep his promise.

      A barrio folk who requested anonymity, however, expressed confidence Gamos could settle his obligation. “The former mayor is into treasure-hunting” together with the mayor of another Sorsogon town, he said.

      The same source revealed that there are at least 10 sites in the town of Sta. Magdalena which are the object of a “massive” search for Yamashita’s treasures. One property owner has already filed a complaint with the office of incumbent mayor Amadeo Gallanosa.

      In his letter-complaint, former Bulan vice mayor Albino Guyala III sought the assistance of the mayor to stop what he termed as “environmental degradation” of his beach property “perpetrated by former mayor and spouses Alejandro and Nida Frilles Gamos, Barangay San Sebastian’s chairman Daniel Formanes, his barangay secretary Alejandro “Kiddy” Garduque, and several John and Peter Does”.

      Guyala also informed Mayor Gallanosa that he is in fact readying both criminal and civil complaints against the said individuals.

      For his part, Mayor Gallanosa ordered the municipality’s chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to investigate the matter and has in fact coordinated with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to “apprehend”, if necessary, “the persons involved in the (said illegal) activity”.

      Asked whether he believes in this “myth” of the Yamashita treasure, Guyala said, “It is but a myth. Nothing more, nothing less! I know of a friend who was engaged in this same venture in Cagayan Valley. He and his “military” financier both ended up bankrupt.”

      “A lady judge from our town”, he added, “was also into this “expedition”, for more than three years now. They (the people who duped the judge into financing this scam) are still digging with no apparent signs of, even a nugget, of Yamashita’s gold.”

      “I can not blame Gamos for believing in this scam”, says the former vice mayor, “he and his wife’s chances of wresting power back from Tio Mading (Gallanosa) is slowly becoming just like that – a myth. And they probably hope to better these chances by venturing in treasure hunting”.