Ombudsman orders dismissal of town treasurer

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Thursday, March 13, 2014


THE Office of the Ombudsman Visayas has removed from his post Compostela municipal treasurer Lorenzo Almodiel over the allegedly irregular issuance of checks totaling P283,926 in 2009.

Imelda Marie Beltran, graft investigation and prosecution officer, found Almodiel liable of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct.

“Almodiel is the author directly involved in the preparation of the falsified supporting documents,” read Beltran's decision.

Although Almodiel is no longer the town treasurer, the ombudsman's ruling dismissing him from the service carried all the accessory penalties, including prohibition from working again in government and forfeiture of his retirement benefits.

Trial

Apart from dismissal, the former town treasurer will also face trial in court for allegedly falsifying public documents.

The case stemmed from the administrative complaint for dishonesty and grave misconduct filed by Councilors Tessa Cang, Wilfredo Calo and the late former mayor Joselito Reynes against Almodiel and former mayor Ritchie Wagas.

In their complaint, the councilors said they received a formal notice of dishonor or demand from Land Bank Danao City branch relative to the three checks of Compostela town in December 2009.

The three checks, which are all dated Oct.26, 2009, were worth P283,928.55. All were signed by Wagas and Almodiel and issued to Melinessa Encarnacion.

The checks were dishonored by the bank for lack of the town accountant's advice.
Resolution

The municipal accountant said she did not process, sign or certify the disbursement vouchers for the transactions that covered the dishonored checks.

The Compostela Town Council then passed a resolution urging the anti-graft office to immediately relieve Almodiel from his post and file appropriate charges against the respondents.

The councilors alleged that Almodiel and Wagas conspired to release the checks without supporting documents.

Almodiel and Wagas, in their counter-affidavit, said the charges ought to be dismissed for lack of basis.

They denied falsifying signatures in the checks, insisting that the supporting documents were complete.

They said they submitted documents to support the issuance of checks.

They denied committing malversation since no money was withdrawn or paid out of the municipal's coffer.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 14, 2014.

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