A FORMER town mayor and three other officials of Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte were convicted of technical malversation for misappropriation of government funds.

In a statement published on the Office of the Ombudsman's website, convicted municipal officials are former municipal mayor and is currently the vice mayor, Bertrand Lumaque; former municipal planning and development coordinator Ruben Martinez; former Municipal Council member and chair of the committee on finance and appropriation Jessie Abecia; and former municipal budget officer Nancy Calacat.

Except for Calacat, the three other convicted officials were part of the Municipal Development Council (MDC) executive committee.

The officials were found liable for purchasing two dump trucks in which the payment was sourced from the appropriated budget for the loan repayment of the Mindanao Urban Special Services Program (MBUSSP).

The records of the case showed that the Municipal Council enacted an appropriation ordinance for the municipality’s General Annual Budget for the calendar year 2006, which included the amount of P5.52 million as development fund.

"The budget for the Development Fund was later approved by the MDC Execom through Resolution No. 130, series of 2006 which earmarked P4M pesos for the loan repayment of the MBUSSP. However, the MDC subsequently passed Resolution No. 5, series of 2007 which realigned P2M of the amount intended for the MBUSSP loan repayment," the statement read.

The diverted fund was allotted for the implementation of several programs which included the procurement of two dump trucks in support of the solid waste management program.

"The act of the MDC execom clearly violates the provision of Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) considering that the P4,000,000 fund has been earmarked for the MBUSS project amortization... that the Solid Waste Management Program had its own appropriation amounting to P405,000.00 from where the municipality could have gotten the budget for the purchase of the dump trucks," the Sandiganbayan stated, in a 20-page decision penned by Associate Justice Samuel Martires.

The municipal officials will pay a fine of P500,000.00 with temporary special disqualification to hold office.(KGL)