TWO officials of Barangay Calamba, Cebu City are facing criminal and administrative cases before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas for allegedly tampering with the signatures of other village officials and illegal disbursement of public funds in 2016.
Six Barangay Calamba councilors filed the complaints and asked the anti-graft office to investigate Barangay Captain Ma. Yvonne Feliciano and treasurer Lucky Genon for alleged violations of Republic Act (RA) 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), RA 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991) and Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code (malversation of public funds or property).
“Respondents are, in effect, treating the barangay money as if it were their own and withdrew whenever they wanted,” they said.
The complainants are Councilors Richard Buscaino, Wilfredo Gonzaga, Hildibrando Ygonia, Corazon Lim, Anna Lozano and Noel Bacalla.
The case was an offshoot of the notice of disallowance issued by the Commission on Audit on Dec. 18, 2017.
Councilor Bacalla said he coordinated with state auditors and examined the disbursement vouchers cited in the notice of disallowance.
Bacalla discovered that all his signatures on the public documents were forged. Councilors Buscaino, Ygonia, and Lim also examined the supporting public records and confirmed that their signatures were forged.
The forged signatures appeared in the barangay resolution and the bids and awards committee, and disbursement vouchers.
The complainants also said the respondents conspired to illegally disburse the barangay funds.
They said that Barangay Calamba spent P7,652,101.13 from April to December 2016. Of the amount, the state auditors disallowed P4,946,448.
“They must have conspired with the supplier in pocketing the money of the barangay,” the complainants said.
The respondents also allegedly released P1,612,352 as payment for “food services, meals and snacks” from May to December 2016, or an average of P230,336 per month for food expenses alone.
The respondents also allegedly released P438,000 and P367,000 for food in June and September 2016, respectively.
But the disbursement of the above funds was made using alleged fabricated documents and made to appear as official transactions, the complainants said.
The complainants asked the ombudsman to place the respondents under preventive suspension to prevent them from tampering with public records while the investigation is ongoing.