Capitol canteen worker caught stealing relief goods ‘off the hook’

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

THE Cebu Provincial Government will no longer file a case against a canteen employee who was caught on closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera stealing relief goods intended for typhoon Yolanda victims.

Messie Toralba, 53, a food server under Lourdes Catering, was seen on three occasions—Nov. 12, 28 and 29--taking food packs at the west wing of the Capitol on her way to the canteen.

Provincial Legal Officer Orvi Ortega, however, recommended to Gov. Hilario Davide III to forgive Toralba in the spirit of Christmas.

“However, after taking into account the surrounding circumstances on top of the incessant begging of the suspect for forgiveness the Provincial Legal Office is overwhelmed by the spirit of Christmas, which is the season for forgiveness, giving and sharing,” read Ortega’s letter to Davide.

In a separate interview, Davide said he asked Ortega to forgive Toralba and not to file a complaint against her.


“As far as I’m concerned, I have forgiven. We have forgiven Messie,” the governor said.

However, the governor and the Provincial Legal Office assured they will not tolerate this kind of action if it happens again.

The relief goods for Yolanda survivors were piled at the lobby of the west wing, where Toralba and other food servers usually pass on the way to the canteen.

Capitol security chief Loi Madrigal had said Toralba may have taken more than a dozen of relief packs, each containing three kilos of rice, six cans of sardines and a bottle of water.

Ortega said the contract of Lourdes Catering expired last Sept. 30 yet, and the Capitol has been renewing the latter’s contract every month.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 28, 2013.

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