THE Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has cleared former Compostela, Cebu councilor Duque Arceo of allegations that he had an unsettled cash advance amounting to P15,882 in 2011.
Maria Bernadeth Andal-Subaan, graft investigation and prosecution officer, dismissed the criminal complaint against Arceo for lack of evidence.
“The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas finds the evidence on record insufficient to conclude that respondent indeed failed to liquidate or render an account within the period required by law,” read Subaan’s five-page resolution.
The case stemmed from the criminal complaint filed by the Ombudsman’s Field Investigating Office, which accused Arceo of violating Article 218 (failure of accountable officer to render accounts) of the Revised Penal Code.
The probe body cited the annual audit report of the Commission on Audit, which said that Arceo failed to settle P15,882 cash advance in December 2011.
The Municipal Government released the money to Arceo to pay for his registration and travel expenses to Manila for the Philippine Councilors’ League’s convention last March 11, 2008.
In 2012, Compostela Mayor Joel Quino asked Arceo to settle his cash advance, but the latter reportedly failed to do so.
Replying to the charges, Arceo denied he failed to settle his cash advance, saying he had liquidated it 30 days after he attended the convention.
The former councilor said he transmitted all the documents relating to his travel to Municipal Treasurer Lorenzo Almodiel, but the latter was absent without filing an official leave.
He said he honestly believed that he already settled his advances.
Arceo then said he was surprised when the complaint was filed against him.
Nevertheless, Arceo said he paid P15,882 to the treasurer’s office.
In the resolution, Subaan said the fact that Arceo paid his cash advance absolved him of any criminal intent.
“This office is inclined to believe the respondent’s sincerity in making full settlement of his cash advance by paying (the amount),” Subaan’s resolution added.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 16, 2017.
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