Binay camp: Makati official has P2M in unliquidated cash advances

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay claimed on Thursday, August 27, that a Makati city government official, who is testifying in the ongoing Senate investigation on the Vice President, has P2 million worth of unliquidated cash advances.

Binay’s media affairs head Joey Salgado said that Makati’s Accounting Department records show that current Makati Action Center (MAC) officer-in-charge (OIC) Arthur Cruto failed to submit liquidation documents for two cash advances he made 10 years ago, when the Vice President was still mayor of Makati.

Cruto, who testified before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee about the alleged “ghost” beneficiaries of Makati’s benefit program for the elderly, failed to completely liquidate a cash advance worth P1,820,000 in August 2004 for that year’s celebration of the Araw ng Makati. Another cash advance worth P300,600 was made in April 2005 for an ARIS seminar.

Salgado said that city records show that of the total P2,120,600 outstanding amount, Cruto was only able to liquidate P16,497.10 for the second cash advance for the 2005 seminar.

“Other supporting documents on file include copies of voucher number 3368 and check number 146833 in the amount of P1,820,000 for Araw ng Makati activities in 2004, and voucher number 2651 and check number 015103 in the amount of P300,600 in 2005,” said Salgado, who used to be Makati’s Public Information Office head until Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr was suspended and replaced by Peña in an acting capacity on June 30.

According to Salgado, Peña should demand Cruto’s “immediate compliance” with government policies on cash advances and liquidate the outstanding amount of P2,104,102.90. The Vice President’s spokesperson added that Cruto should return any unspent balance as well.

“We would like to remind the acting mayor that he had personally vouched for the ‘untarnished’ employment records of his appointees. It would do him well to take a closer look at the records of his other appointees to ensure that they do not have outstanding obligations like Cruto,” Salgado said.

In a text message sent to Rappler on Thursday, Peña said his administration will be acting on Salgado's claims.

"The city government under my stewardship will be open to comments such as this and we will convene and act on it," he said.

Cruto has been a MAC employee since the early 1990s. When Peña was sworn in as acting mayor of Makati, he appointed Cruto as MAC OIC. (READ: Kid Peña: New appointments 'beneficial' for Makati)

Cruto was also a barangay council member of Barangay Kasilawan from 2010 to 2015.

He revealed in an August 20 Senate hearing that data from two of the city’s smallest barangays show that 40 to 52% the elderly-beneficiaries of Makati’s Blu Card program are allegedly “suspicious” because they do not meet the program’s qualifications.

On August 26, Cruto presented data from 5 more barangays, which supported his earlier statement.  

Former MAC OIC and current assistant department head Ryan Barcelo refuted Cruto’s claims.

However, the tables turned on Barcelo when Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said he allegedly received 15 checks in his name from the Priority Development Assistance Fund of Makati Representative Abigail Binay. – Mara Cepeda/Rappler.com