Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has ordered the implementation of penalties ranging from dismissal from the service to suspension without pay against four municipal treasurers and a Bureau of Customs (BOC) agent in connection with separate cases filed before them before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Acting on the rulings of the Ombudsman, Dominguez directed the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) to dismiss from the service municipal treasurer Angelita Roble of Tudela, Cebu and to suspend for one year without pay Local Treasury Operations Officer IV Marilou Rivera, who is officer-in-charge of the Office of the Provincial Treasurer in Misamis Oriental.
He also ordered BLGF acting Executive Director Nino Raymond Alvina to suspend municipal treasurer Cherryl Aguirre of Valladolid, Negros Occidental for three months without pay, and municipal treasurer Rosita Siniclang of Emilio, Ilocos Sur for one month and one day.
At the BOC, Dominguez directed Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon to suspend for two months without pay Special Agent Samuel Gamao Saed.
In dismissing Roble from the service, the Ombudsman found her guilty of serious dishonesty for failing to account for some P250,000 in financial assistance released to her office 14 years ago by Malacanang under the President’s Social Fund (PSF).
The Ombudsman also cancelled Roble’s eligibility, ordered the forfeiture of retirement benefits and her perpetual disqualification from re-employment in the government service.
Roble and then-mayor Rogelio Baquerfo of Tudela received the P250,000 in financial aid from the PSF in November 2002 to implement the town’s socio-civic projects.
Baquerfo was excluded from the complaint as he was defeated in the 2004 elections. The current mayor, Demetrio Granada, learned about the fund after receiving a letter from Malacanang asking for an official receipt, the deed of donation, project proposal, and liquidation reports for the disbursement of the PSF.
Roble was unable to explain where and how the fund was spent.
Rivera, on the other hand, was suspended without pay for one year after being found guilty of oppression and neglect of duty when she abused and capriciously used her authority in issuing warrants of garnishment and 152 warrants of levy against a Japan-based firm inside an economic zone in Misamis Oriental.
The Ombudsman found Rivera’s issuance of warrants of garnishment against the bank accounts of Pilipinas Kao Inc. in the assessed amount of P631.5 million and warrants of levy amounting to P244.7 million as “improper.”
Rivera issued the warrants in 2013 even after a clarification from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) that the firm was exempted from paying taxes and even when the purported unpaid taxes of Pilipinas Kao could have been easily covered by the company’s industrial machinery worth P2.9 bilion.
Meanwhile, Siniclang was suspended for one month and one day for being guilty of simple neglect of duty when she was found liable for the loss of P693,960 in municipal funds stolen from her office.
The stolen money was for the bonuses of municipal employees.
Aguirre was suspended for three months without pay for simple misconduct when she authorized the payment of P288,271.88 to a hardware company who got the contract to supply construction materials without the required public bidding.
The charges against Lilian Espanola, the local treasury operations officer IV, was dismissed after she was able to prove that she was no longer involved in the questionable transaction.
Saed of the BOC was suspended for his failure to file a sworn Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) for 2009 and Disclosure of Business Interests and Financial Connections.
The Ombudsman suspended him without pay for only two months because this was his first offense with no mitigating or aggravating circumstances.
Earlier, Dominguez also ordered the implementation of various penalties against six erring officials under the supervision of the Department of Finance (DOF).
The finance chief has ordered the dismissal from the service of Aniceta Suyat, the municipal treasurer of Buguias, Benguet after being found guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for her alleged involvement in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam; and Candidato Macabangon, the municipal treasurer of Bubong, Lanao del Sur for serious dishonesty when he submitted falsified ‘reconstructed’ SALNs from 2000 to 2006.
He has also ordered the forfeiture of the retirement benefits of Cipriano Plazos, the municipal treasurer of Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte after the Ombudsman found the latter administratively guilty of “grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.”
Dominguez also suspended without pay municipal treasurer Jose Pastor Jr. of Talaingod, Davao del Norte, for simple neglect of duty; Customs Operations Officer IV Jerry Gomez Ponce for Simple Dishonesty and Simple Neglect of Duty.
He has also ordered the filing of administrative charges against fugitive Laoag City Treasurer Elena Asuncion and has asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Commission on Audit (COA) to conduct deeper probes into the over P85 million-worth of missing public funds under her accountability.