Ombud indicts ex-COA auditor for malversation

A FORMER state auditor of a government corporation will face trial for allegedly falsifying documents by using the names of her fellow auditors and pocketing about P19,836 in public funds in 2008.

Vincent Albeos, graft investigation and prosecution officer of the Office of the Ombudsman, found evidence to indict Vivien Ortiz with malversation of public funds through falsification of documents, which is a violation under the Revised Penal Code.

“Doubtlessly, respondent took advantage of her official position in order to achieve the covert criminal objective of her acts to siphon public funds from government coffers in the guise of reimbursement to herself,” reads Albeos’ 23-page resolution.

Ortiz was the former leader of the Commission on Audit (COA) team assigned in the office of the National Transmission Commission in Cebu City.

Ortiz allegedly stole public funds by affixing the signatures of COA Regional Cluster Director Francisco Cijas Jr. and Sabiniano Cabatuan, COA’s Central Office cluster director.

Ortiz made it appear that Cijas issued a travel order and approved the release of money for her reimbursement.

The accused further made up a supposed authorization to attend a conference.

Ortiz, however, who was dismissed from service in 2011, denied the allegations against her in her counter-affidavit.

She also said that the funds were not missing but unused.

But Albeos said that Ortiz should be held liable because she “knowingly” certified the disbursement vouchers as “necessary and lawful.’” She also caused the release of P369,864 in public funds to a certain Ricardo Pitalcorin.

“By and large, the respondent’s wily scheme and fraudulent designs cannot escape the prying eye of this office. At the outset, respondent’s goal was to defraud the public treasury,” he said.
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