THE Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao slapped a six-month suspension against a municipal treasurer of Maasim, Sarangani who was found to have mishandled more than P100,000 of local government funds in 2008 to 2009.

Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer (GIPO) 2 Grace Morales, in her decision dated April 30, 2014 penned by Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo Elman, ordered the six-month suspension to Moises Villadelgado Magalona Jr. for simple misconduct after he was accused of mishandling P114,377 between November 18, 2008 and December 10, 2009.

He was also accused of receiving P24,480 worth of transportation allowance between January to June of 2009 despite using a government vehicle.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed on August 23, 2010 by Maasim Municipal Mayor Jose Zamorro, who found out about the shortage in the local funds and the transportation allowance claims based on the Commission on Audit (COA) examination in December 10, 2009.

Morales acknowledged the defense of the respondent that he had already deposited a total of P159,377.60 to the bank account of the local government on August 20, 2010.

But Magalona was served with a demand letter from COA dated January 6 asking him to pay yet he didn't make a reply. He was also asked to make a payment in bulk, yet he made staggered payments.

"The municipal treasurer is tasked to take custody and exercise proper management of the funds of the local government unit concerned; however, with the discovery of the cash shortage, respondent is rather remiss of his duties as municipal treasurer. While the office noted respondent's gesture of paying the cash shortage, but through several tranches, this cannot completely absolve respondent of administrative liability for his incurrence of the cash shortage and lack of explanation," the order read.

On the event that Magalona won't be able to serve his suspension if he gets removed from the service, Morales ordered that he will be paying six-month's worth of his salary as fine.

Magalona was also ordered to pay the P24,480 worth of transportation allowance.

But while the administrative case against Magalona has already been decided, the Office of the Ombudsman-Mindanao has yet to resolve the criminal complaint for malversation of public funds charged against him. (RSA)