Political strife in Dumanjug continues

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014


DUMANJUG Mayor Nelson Garcia yesterday filed another complaint for malversation of public funds through falsification of public documents against Vice Mayor Efren Guntrano Gica and his brother, Municipal Councilor Erwin Gica, before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

In the same complaint, Garcia accused the two officials of allegedly violating Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019, also known as the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

‘Illegal’ cash advance

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In his criminal complaint-affidavit, Garcia said that on May 15, the vice mayor, who sat as acting mayor, authorized Erwin to secure a cash advance worth P80,000 from the municipal treasurer for the “Extensive Drug Operation in the Municipality of Dumanjug.”

Garcia said Erwin, as an elected municipal official, is not authorized under the Local Government Code and Commission of Audit rules to secure a cash advance for that purpose.

Purpose

“Under the law if you are an elected official and you’re a councilor, you are only allowed to (a) cash advance (of) up to P15,000 (and) only for travel (purposes),” he said.

Fifteen days after the amount was disbursed, the officials submitted a liquidation report saying that the P80,000 was used for the “honorarium/allowance” of the personnel of the town’s anti-drug operation.

“In support of the said liquidation report, respondents submitted a bogus and spurious ‘payroll’ for the supposed ‘honoraria and allowances’ to bogus and fictitious persons,” a part of the complaint read.

During the press conference, Garcia showed a copy of the disbursement voucher, check, liquidation report and the payroll.

Names on the payroll

Based on the payroll, Senior Insp. Walther Grapa, former chief of Dumanjug police, and police officers Eduard Saromines and Nestor Villanueva received P10,000 each.

Also included in the payroll were “Asset-Zodiac 1” and “Asset-Zodiac 2.” They, too, received P10,000 each.

Alpha 1, Alpha 2, Omega 1 and Omega 2 received P7,500 each.

The recipients’ signatures are printed on the payroll as proof they rendered services.

When sought for his comment, the vice mayor said he will only give release a statement once he receives a copy of the complaint.

In the letter of Municipal Treasurer Leticia Cabillon addressed to Garcia, the nine names that appeared on the payroll “had not received or paid salary in the past” by the municipality.

Former congressman Pablo Garcia, the mayor’s father, also questioned why Erwin was able to secure a cash advance when he is not a member of the committee on peace and order and any committee related to drugs.

The elder Garcia, who was also present at the press conference, said a councilor may secure a cash advance for traveling expenses but not for drug operations.

Not paid

He said a government employee should not accept double compensation contrary to what was printed in the payroll.

“That is prohibited under the law. Dumanjug did not pay the police because it is their duty. They are not supposed to collect any salary,” he said.

The mayor said he knows the signature of the police chief is different from what is on the payroll.

Through a letter, Arnelle Famor, Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) II, told the mayor that the persons on the payroll are not in the plantilla or in the list of persons hired under job-order services or contract of service.

Famor said if those persons “received salary from the Municipality of Dumanjug, the HRMO is not privy thereto.”

Earlier, the mayor filed malversation of public funds through falsification of official document complaints against Efren for allegedly tampering a restaurant receipt worth P11,435 so it would look like P21,435.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2014.

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