COA flags Liloan for ‘irregular’ spending on lechon in 2022

THE purchase of 207 roasted pigs (lechon) by the Liloan Municipal Government worth P1.357 million, which has been flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) as “unnecessary and irregular,” has benefited lechon vendors in the northern Cebu town.

This was Mayor Aljew Jordan Frasco’s response to the findings of state auditors who raised concerns about the procurement of roasted pigs for different activities in 2022 that included team buildings.

“We have to remember that Liloan is also known for its delicious lechon or roasted pig which became a pride for the town. This is also one way of helping our lechoneros in Liloan to be exposed to possible orders even outside of our jurisdiction,” Frasco told SunStar Cebu in a mix of Cebuano and English via a text message on Tuesday, June 27, 2023.

Frasco further said the roasted pigs were purchased on multiple occasions due to the numerous events organized or led by the town.

“Ang kantidad nga gigasto nato, kung buot sabayon, gamay ra kini ikompara sa kadaghan nga mga tao nga naabot ug nasikop sa atong mga events and affairs,” he said.

(The amount we spent, if we look at it, is relatively small compared to the number of people who attended our events and affairs.)

An article posted on titled, “Liloan Municipality Profile,” does not mention lechon as one of the town’s famous products.

“Liloan is home to the century-old Bagacay Point Lighthouse and the world-famous Titay’s Liloan Rosquillos. Among its attractions include a world-class golf course and golf academy, a waterpark and wakeboarding facility, and several beach and mountain resorts,” it said.

The mayor described COA’s findings as an observation, adding that the local government unit (LGU) had justified the procurement, satisfying the state auditors who issued an unqualified opinion regarding the matter. An unqualified opinion, also referred to as unmodified opinion, is issued when the auditor concludes that the financial statements are prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework.

Frasco won the vice mayoral race in the town in the 2022 general elections, while his running mate Christina Garcia Frasco (wife of his cousin Cebu Fifth District Rep. Vincent Franco Frasco) won the mayor’s seat. Frasco became the mayor after Christina was appointed as the tourism secretary by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.


The 2022 audit report states that the procurement of these roasted pigs for several events in the town is deemed “unnecessary and irregular.”

This includes granting of lechon requests from private organizations for their founding anniversaries, assemblies, gatherings, capacity-building activities and launches; Pastoral Parish Council and other religious groups such as the Knights of Columbus for their events, team buildings, get-togethers, inductions, oath takings, thanksgiving celebrations and assemblies; schools for their team buildings, moving up and graduation ceremonies, homecomings, summits, Christmas light-ups and thanksgiving parties; and barangay events such as capacity-building activities, assemblies and Christmas parties.

COA further said the town also procured lechon for its own activities such as team buildings, year-end assessments and Christmas parties of various departments, including the police station; tree planting activities; inauguration/oath taking of newly elected officials; blessing of the basketball court in Barangay Upper Tagaytay and Calero; general assembly with municipal and barangay officials; groundbreaking and inauguration of provincial roads; turnover of Dasig Sugbo cards (an aid from the Cebu Provincial Government); Municipality of Danglas, Abra benchmarking (the process of comparing the performance of one LGU to the performance of other LGUs); and Capitol Caravan, the Provincial Government’s public service program.


The state auditors further said the purchases of roasted pigs for these events violated Republic Act (RA) 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, and COA Circular 2012-003, which sets the rules for excessive, irregular and unnecessary expenditures.

According to Section 335 of RA 7160, COA said it was irregular for Liloan to grant lechon requests to private organizations and religious groups, as it goes against the specific provision that prohibits the appropriation of public funds or properties for religious or private purposes.

COA said buying roasted pigs for the events was unnecessary since it did not contribute to the objectives of the said activities.

State auditors further said the multiple lechon procurement deprived the town’s constituents of projects and services that could have been funded by the same amount.

COA recommended that the Municipal Government refrain from incurring such expenses for similar activities, emphasizing that town officials should exercise prudence in spending town funds and resources while ensuring efficiency in operations.

Liloan’s response

In its response to the same report, the Municipal Government said it did not directly purchase the roasted pigs in question. Instead, it provided cash donations for the activities and the receiving parties used the cash to buy the roasted pigs.

It emphasized that lechon is a significant part of Filipino tradition and it adds a festive touch to any gathering.

The town further said that it had already instructed its offices to refrain from granting lechon requests for any activity or gathering.


State auditors disagreed with the Liloan LGU’s response, saying the documents related to the purchase of the lechons indicated otherwise.

COA said based on the post-audit report on the disbursement vouchers and supporting documents, it was revealed that Liloan’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) was responsible for the actual purchase of the roasted pigs.

The agency also mentioned that the town had bought roasted pigs for its own activities.

Highest audit rating

On June 8, Mayor Frasco announced on the town’s official Facebook page that it had received an “unmodified opinion” from COA after examining its 2022 financial statements.

The town has also achieved its fifth-highest audit rating from COA. It previously received an unqualified opinion in 2017, 2019, 2020 and in 2021, during the term of then-mayor and current Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco.

Loss of income

A lechon vendor from Carcar City has expressed concern over the potential impact on their sales if LGUs are prohibited from purchasing roasted pigs during celebrations or significant events.

Glaisa Ersan, a lechon vendor for 10 years, said in a text message sent to SunStar Cebu on Tuesday that special occasions such as fiestas and events in different towns and cities are crucial factors that contribute to their revenue.

She said lechon vendors eagerly await towns and cities to celebrate their fiestas or special events because it means more orders compared to regular days.

“To be honest, as a lechon vendor, we always look forward to activities in other provinces like fiestas where many people come and buy our lechon here in Carcar. It’s also the time when we can showcase a variety of offerings during quieter days,” Ersan said. (WITH KAL)