Court convicts ex-gov’t official-A A +A
Sunday, June 22, 2014
THE Sandiganbayan has convicted Lacsasa Hadji Datu Pangadapun, former director at the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) in the region.
Pangadapun was convicted after he pleaded guilty to a lesser offense of failure of an accountable officer to render accounts in a plea bargaining agreement he entered with the Office of the Ombudsman.
Pangadapun was charged before the anti-graft court in 2011 for his failure settle his cash advances of P142,600 in 2004.
Pursuant to the plea bargain deal, the accused paid the cash advances in full.
In a decision penned by Justice Roland Jurado, the Sandiganbayan ruled that the guilty plea of Pangadapun “constitutes proof beyond reasonable doubt of guilt.”
Thus, the admission of the charged offense “supplies the necessary legal and factual foundation to convict him… without need of any further evidence.”
Pangadapun was ordered to pay a fine of P6,000 with suspension from public office.
The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas charged Pangadapun and Saipal Bazar, OMA supply officer, with violating Presidential Decree 1445, or the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.
Bazar also failed to liquidate his P616,321 cash advances.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by the Public Assistance and Corruption Office of the Ombudsman against Pangadapun, Bazar and a certain Mitchel Sumalipao.
Sumalipao was also accused of failure to settle about P135,204 in cash advances. But the anti-graft office later cleared Sumalipao of criminal liability after the ombudsman was convinced she just inherited the unliquidated amount from her predecessor.
The ombudsman’s Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office (Pacpo) filed the complaint based on the state auditor’s findings that Lacsasa and Bazar incurred cash advances.
The auditors demanded from them to settle their advances, but only Sumalipao was able to justify the advances.
Sumalipao said the cash advances were received by her predecessor before she assumed office in January 1997.
She said there was no proper turnover of the documents to her by the previous accountant when she assumed the post.
Bazar admitted receiving P616,321 but said he spent the amount “legitimately.”
He later settled his cash advances, but the ombudsman said he was not able to comply with the auditor’s order on time. Pangadapun, on the other hand, failed to explain.
The anti-graft office filed the complaint for malversation of public funds and violation of the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines against Bazar and Pangadapun before the Sandiganbayan. (GMD)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 22, 2014.