THE eight dismissed officials of the Cebu Technological University (CTU) will face trial in court over the alleged illegal release of representation expenses worth P63,000 to a school official in 2012 who is not legally entitled to it.

Ronald Brian Evangelista, graft investigation and prosecution officer, recommended the filing of criminal charges against the officials for violation of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) before the Regional Trial Court.

“Respondents contrived to grant illicit representation expenses by way of a spurious body strongly indicates an illegal act that warrants criminal and administrative sanctions. It negates their defense of good faith,” read Evangelista’s joint resolution.

The dismissed officials are Bonifacio Villanueva, former CTU president; Rodolfo Burgos, the university’s former vice president for administration; Jerlito Letrondo, university chief administrative officer; Normita Mejala, finance manager II; Gilminarde Santos, accountant IV; Ruth Manga-ay, university disbursing officer; Pontiano Bontia, campus director; and Ruel Tillor, internal auditor.

Villanueva retired from the service just before the complaint was filed, while Burgos died in 2013.

The Office of the Ombudsman, in a joint resolution dated Dec. 16, 2016 duly approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, dismissed the officials for alleged grave misconduct.

This stemmed from the complaint filed by the Ombudsman-Visayas’ Field Investigation Office, which accused the respondents for violating the anti-graft law.

They cited the complaint-affidavit of Eugenio Ermac, assistant professor II and CTU faculty president, who alleged that the university released P3,000 per month as reimbursement to Santos’ representation allowance from August 2011 to April 2013.

Ermac claimed that Santos, being the school accountant, is not entitled to receive a representation allowance.

The Commission on Audit also ruled that Santos is not allowed to receive the supposed reimbursement since the trips were made outside of Cebu.

The auditors also found that the payments made to reimburse Santos were for personal expenses, such as grocery purchases.

It also covers restaurant meals in Metro Manila and the cities of Cebu, Tacloban, Ormoc, Talisay, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Cagayan de Oro.

Auditors said the seven other school officials should be held liable for the release of Santos’ representation allowances.

Replying to the charges, the respondents said that the release of Santos’ representation allowance was based on the resolution issued by the board.

However, Evangelista said the so-called board of management had no power over the release of representation allowance to Santos.

The respondents caused “undue injury” to the government for releasing the representation allowance through “manifest partiality.”

The Ombudsman has since directed the current CTU president to implement the dismissal order and submit a compliance report.