Ex-mayor prepares charges vs. officials

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Monday, April 9, 2012


FORMER Compostela mayor Ritchie Wagas has prepared criminal and administrative complaints against incumbent Mayor Joel Quiño and other municipal officials for the “illegal” collection of back wages amounting to P6.9 million.

Wagas said the complaints will be filed before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas this week.

“Those who are involved in the release of the back wages should not go unpunished,” said Wagas, who described the collection of the back wages as “municipal robbery.”

Wagas believes that the three members of Compostela town’s local finance committee—Municipal Treasurer Cleofe Gonzaga, Municipal Accountant Sylvia Malacad and Municipal Budget Officer Lourdes Salingua—are considered most guilty, given the nature of their positions.

“Legally, they are considered experts in terms of the local government unit’s financial affairs. They are presumed to know more and they are presumed to be technically competent, but they allowed Quiño and the others to collect such illegal fees,” the former mayor added.

Back pay

Records showed that while the local finance committee processed the release of the back wages, Gonzaga, Malacad and Salingua passed a resolution objecting to the granting of back pay to Quiño and the other newly-installed elected officials. 

The resolution, which is supposed to clear Gonzaga, Malacad and Salingua of any criminal and administrative liability, was attached to the voucher for the P6.9-million back pay.

But Wagas said the resolution cannot absolve them of their criminal liability in participating in an allegedly criminal act.

Wagas said that of the P6.9-million back wages, Quiño received P743,886. Vice Mayor Nanette Dangoy also received P652,758 while the eight municipal councilors received P541,329.12 each.

He said that even if the municipal officials will return the money to the municipal coffers, “the illegal act has already been committed, hence, the preparation of charges against them.”

When sought for comment, Quiño said he will answer all the allegations of Wagas in the proper forum.

“I will meet my legal team this week to discuss the matter,” Quiño said.

In the meantime, he said, he will concentrate on implementing projects that he promised Compostela’s constituents when he ran for mayor in 2010.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 10, 2012.

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