COA staff faces criminal case over ‘falsified’ travel papers

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Friday, February 1, 2013


FOR ALLEGEDLY stealing funds from a government corporation and falsifying documents using the names of her fellow state auditors, a female Commission on Audit (COA) employee will face trial in court.

Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Amy Rose Soler-Rellin of the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas found enough evidence to indict Vivien F. Ortiz with malversation of public funds through falsification of official documents, a violation under the Revised Penal Code.

No bail was recommended for the accused, who is the leader of the COA team assigned at the National Transmission Commission in Cebu City.

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Ortiz allegedly stole P64,316, after affixing the signatures of COA Regional Cluster Director Francisco Cijas Jr., Ligaya Vallega and Lilia Castisimo on documents intended for official travel.

The accused confessed to Cijas that she manufactured the documents for she was in need of money, according to the case’s resolution. She promised to pay back the amount.

But Ortiz denied the allegation in her counter-affidavit. She said did not falsify the documents and the funds are not missing but unused.

Travel order

Ortiz allegedly made it appear that Cijas issued a travel order and approved the release of money by issuing a voucher. The accused further made up the itineraries of Vallega and Castisimo.

Cijas denied releasing a travel order to Vallega and Castisimo.

“Cijas, Vallega and Castisimo did not sign the documents, and there was no authorized travel,” said Rellin.

Vallega and Castisimo filed the criminal complaint against the accused, after they discovered that their signatures were forged in 2008.

Itineraries

In their supposed itineraries, the two auditors traveled to the cities of Bacolod, Iloilo and Ormoc. But they said they were in the COA office at the Dumaguete City Water District, preparing reports for three water district offices in the towns of Sibulan, Ayungon and Pamplona, Negros Oriental.

Ortiz, in her position paper, said the complainants failed to submit evidence proving that she forged their signatures, which were not examined by an expert.

She said she was convinced of the authenticity of the signatures of Vallega, Castisimo and Cijas and that she just signed the documents she found on her table.

But Rellin is not willing to consider Ortiz’s excuse, saying the “settled rule” is that the person who used a forged document is the forger.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 01, 2013.

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