Sara, Iloilo Mayor ¬†Neptali Salcedo and ¬†seven other local officials are facing criminal charges for malversation of public funds before the Sandiganbayan upon the order of Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro.
The Office of the Ombudsman said in a press release that in a resolution, Casimiro ordered the filing of charges for 30 counts of ¬†malversation of public funds through falsification of ¬†public document against Mayor ¬†Salcedo, Municipal Treasurer Edna Pacrim and Municipal Engineer Roel Salcedo.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Iloilo 5th District ¬†Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. ¬†before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, alleging that labor payrolls amounting to ¬†P1,834,400 were deemed to be of doubtful validity.
Investigation conducted by Ombudsman-Visayas revealed the ‚Äúevident similarity in some of the signatures on the affidavits of the supposed payees‚ÄĚ. It said the signature above names of different persons appear to have been ‚Äúaffixed by one person.‚ÄĚ
Aside from the filing of criminal charges, Pacrim and ¬†Roel Salcedo ¬†were also meted the penalty of dismissal with all inherent penalties.
In another case, ¬† Casimiro ordered that Mayor ¬†Salcedo and ¬†Pacrim, along
Municipal Budget Officer Gregorio Golingay; ¬†Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator ¬†Calixto Oliveros, ¬†also Bids and Awards Committee chairman; ¬†Municipal General Services Officer ¬†Marcelino Abellar; Executive Assistant III and BAC member ¬†Marilou Balasabas; and Statistical Aide and BAC Secretariat Head Elizabeth Tan ¬†be charged for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The case pertains to a complaint by Tupas based from an audit finding that contracts and/or ¬†purchase ¬†orders totaling P1,249,050 were awarded by the BAC to Porquez Farm and General Merchant.
However, it was found out the said company was not a bona fide supplier.
The ¬†Ombudsman ¬†resolution also ¬†stated that ‚Äúit was irregular for the BAC to award contracts to Porquez Farm and General Merchant when the latter could not be considered a bona fide supplier. Moreover, the corresponding disbursement vouchers for the payments made to Porquez Farm and General Merchant were not supported by the required documents, and the vouchers lacked several of the required signatures.‚ÄĚ
The Ombudsman also found ¬†Oliveros, Pacrim, Roel, Golingay, Abellar, Balasabas, ¬†and Tan guilty of the offense of ¬†inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of ¬†official ¬†duties, and were each meted the penalty of nine-month suspension without pay and benefits.
In a separate resolution, Acting Ombudsman ordered the filing of criminal charges for two counts each of violation of ¬†R.A. 3019 against ¬†Mayor Salcedo, Pacrim, and Roel Salcedo.
The case stemmed from a complaint also filed by Tupas alleging that sometime in May 2006, ¬†Mayor Salcedo, ¬†Pacrim and Roel Salcedo connived with each other when they caused the payment of the amount P200,000 for the construction of a farm-to-market road from Brgy. ¬†Domingo to Brgy. ¬†Muyco, Sara, Iloilo and also the amount of P100,000 for the construction of another farm-to-market road from Sitio Kapinayan, Domingo to Sitio Sincua, Lemery, Sara, Iloilo.
However, the complainant stated the said project merely entailed repair works of an existing road and not construction of a new one.
It was revealed that for the Kapinayan, Domingo-to-Sincua, Lemery project, the municipality of ¬†Sara paid ¬†P48,256 ¬†more when ¬†repair works for the same was valued to be only P51,744.
According to the Commission on Audit (COA), the local government of Sara also paid an excess amount of P96, 512 for the Domingo-to-Muyco project because it was valued to be only P103,488 which caused undue injury upon the municipality.
The Ombudsman found Pacrim and Roel Salcedo guilty of the offense of inefficiency and incompetence in the ¬†performance of ¬†official duties and meted the penalty of suspension for a period of nine months without pay and benefits for the ghost road project.
In a separate case, ¬†Mayor Salcedo, ¬†Pacrim, and ¬†Roel Salcedo, along with ¬†accountant Edgar Beatingo and Luis Ybiernas, private individual, were ordered charged for one count each for violation of the Anti-Graft law.
In his complaint, Tupas alleged the respondents caused the payment of the amount of ¬†P1 million to Sara Caltex Station in Sara, Iloilo for fuel and lubricant used in several road repair and expansion.
However, the COA discovered ¬†there was an excess payment of P153,721 because the actual cost of the fuel was only P846, 279 for the ten projects.
Pacrim, Roel Salcedo, and Beatingo were also slapped with a separate nine-month suspension without pay and benefits for the overpriced fuel.*
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