With Lyssa Raquinel and Mira Nicole Magbanua
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The issue over the balance owed giant drug firm Astra Zeneca has, like the COVID virus, mutated after City Legal Officer Romeo Carlos Ting said today they have yet to see the original document of the multi million peso contract to buy more than half a million doses of COVID vaccine.
Ting told DNX today that what the Benitez administration only have now is the draft of the contract even if the city had already paid P31 million as 20 percent advance to Astra Zeneca.
City Hall had announced last year that Leonardia signed the vax buy contract 7 January 2021 at the Bacolod City Government Center.
The revelation of Ting came days after new Mayor Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez had confirmed he will rather use the P98 million from the city’s coffers for projects that would benefit residents than pay it to Astra Zeneca.
Physician Chris Sorongon,spokesperson of former Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the City’s P98 million balance should now be the responsibility of Benitez.
Sorongon in a statement said that whether or not Benitez decides to pay the balance, it would still be his call.
At the end of the day, Sorongon added Benitez would still be the one to deal with the pharmaceutical firm now that he is the new local chief executive.
Sorongon also dismissed claims saying here was over estimation of the volume of vaccines to be bought.