Lost checks case not moving-A A +A
Sunday, March 10, 2013
ALMOST three years after the incident, the Cebu City Government’s investigation on the loss of 28 Philhealth checks amounting to P240,000, which were issued to the Cebu City Medical Center (CMMC), has not kicked off.
The Special Administrative Investigation Committee (Saic), which was tasked by Mayor Michael Rama to investigate CCMC credit officer Lourdes Archua for the missing checks, has not convened.
Archua’s camp opposed several times the composition that the mayor appointed for Saic.
Rama changed the members three times, but its members were continuously questioned by Archua’s legal counsel, lawyer Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu, because they found them partial.
The first Saic formed by Rama is composed of lawyers from the City who are Carlo Vincent Gimena, Dominic Diño, Ferdinand Cañete and Lecel Llamedo.
However, it was questioned by Archua’s camp, saying they would not get an impartial investigation from them since they act both as prosecutor and judge.
Archua then filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court Branch 58 and sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the said lawyers from conducting an administrative hearing.
The court acted favorably on Archua’s petition and ordered the City to change the Saic membership.
The second Saic was composed of Diño, lawyer Mary Ann Suson who was then head of the Human Resource and Development Office, and the mayor’s consultant Engr. Eugene Elizalde and CCMC head nurse Lerma Soledad.
Dalawampu, however, questioned the reappointment of Diño and the presence of Soledad.
Soledad’s presence, she said, is questionable, considering that she was formerly under Archua’s supervision.
The third Saic was composed of Suson, Elizalde and lawyer Evangeline Abatayo of the Civil Registrar’s Office.
But the same was questioned by Archua’s camp.
In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, City Legal Officer Joseph Bernaldez said the Saic never convened, even once, to investigate the missing checks because of Archua’s questioning of the investigating panel’s membership.
This was confirmed by Elizalde.
“The case would have long been resolved had they allowed Saic to proceed with the investigation,” Elizalde told Sun.Star Cebu in a separate interview.
Bernaldez said it will now be up to Archua to make a follow- up on the pending investigation and ask the mayor to create a new investigating panel.
Bernaldez said he was informed that Archua will soon be retiring. Elizalde also received the same information.
“She will not be cleared or will receive any retirement benefits if the case will not be resolved. Siya gyuy dapat mangusog ana (She should push for it),” he said.
Sun.Star Cebu tried to ask CCMC Chief Dr. Gloria Duterte on the employment status of Archua, but she was not available for comment yesterday.
Archua, who is credit officer IV of CCMC’s Business and Finance Department, released Philhealth checks to an alleged swindler last May 4, 2010.
Nine out of the 28 checks amounting to P114,839.25 have been cashed.
The remaining 19 checks were not after these were covered by a “stop payment” order, which the Philhealth filed before the Land Bank of the Philippines after hospital officials reported the missing checks.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 11, 2013.