TWO village officials from Lapu-Lapu City will face trial in court for allegedly falsifying public documents for the purchase of various supplies amounting to P1.73 million in 2010.

Maria Regina Hagad-Fernandez, graft investigation and prosecution officer, found evidence to charge Poblacion Barangay Captain Allen Dimataga, Jr. and treasurer Ethel de la Serna with 92 counts of falsification of public documents and another 21 counts of violating Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

“Respondents Dimataga and Dela Serna, respectively, in their capacities as barangay chairman and barangay treasurer, had control and responsibility over the funds of the barangay. Apparently, payments charged to barangay funds were released by them to the suppliers,” read Fernandez’s 28-page resolution.

SunStar visited the Poblacion barangay hall yesterday to get the statements of Dimataga and dela Serna. Dimataga refused to be interviewed, while dela Serna was not around.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by the Ombudsman-Visayas’ public assistance and corruption prevention office, who accused Dimataga, dela Serna and Lapu-Lapu City Accountant Buenaventura Igot of malversation of public funds and violation of the anti-graft law.

The ombudsman cited the affidavit of Shane Harvey Omolon, who accused the respondents of illegal disbursement of the barangay funds amounting to P1.738 million.

The respondents allegedly falsified 21 barangay transactions and supporting documents to facilitate the release of checks to suppliers on various dates in 2010.

In the resolution, graft investigator Fernandez ruled that Dimataga and dela Serna could be held liable for 92 counts of falsification of public documents and 21 counts of violation of the anti-graft law.

“The office finds a conspiracy between Dimataga and Dela Serna in both counts of falsification of public documents and violation of RA 3019,” Fernandez said in the resolution.

The respondents denied the charges. Igot said the documents involved are barangay transactions. She said that her name and signature did not even appear in any of the questioned documents.

On the other hand, the ombudsman dismissed for lack of evidence the complaint against Igot. With a report from Miguel Ernest Ermac, USJ-R Intern