Liquidating officer accused of embezzling P12M

City of Naga.
City of Naga.Google Maps

ABOUT P12 million was reportedly lost from the City of Naga’s coffers after one of its liquidating officers allegedly failed to deposit exact tax collections to the designated bank.

The 44-year-old liquidating officer was placed under police custody last Monday, Feb. 19, 2024 but was released 24 hours later after no case was filed against her.

The city treasurer, through the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA), discovered that around P12 million in taxes collected was lost in transit under the liquidating officer. No documents were found to indicate the funds were deposited into the City Government’s account.

The situation alarmed the COA and the treasurer’s office since the public funds could no longer be traced.

Mayor Valdemar Chiong told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, Feb. 21, that the case is still under investigation.

He said the City Government, through its City Legal Office, is studying what criminal cases to file against her, but she could be charged with malversation of public funds and qualified theft.

Chiong did not divulge the name of the liquidating officer, pending the filing of a case against her.

The liquidation officer is responsible for collecting taxes and revenues and depositing them in an authorized bank.

“We are currently conducting our investigation, and we cannot yet give details because the case might result too prematurely... We still cannot exactly confirm if P12 million is lost, but we hope it will be less, so we can’t give the exact figure yet,” Chiong said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

He said it was only on Wednesday afternoon that the City Government received the demand letter from the COA against the liquidating officer.

Meanwhile, the City Government has asked the Bureau of Local Governance Finance 7 for guidance regarding the matter.

The mayor said he initially talked with the liquidating officer, but the latter was mum on the allegations.

He said they will look into possible discrepancies and loopholes in the day-to-day transactions and system of the city treasurer that need to be corrected to prevent a similar incident from happening again.

The investigation of the City of Naga Police Station discovered suspicious activities of the liquidating officer, which have been going on since the end of the fourth quarter of 2022.

The sudden change in her lifestyle, including frequent travels abroad and visits to the casino, raised red flags.

The liquidating officer allegedly admitted to the authorities that she deducted small amounts of money from the collection every week countless times before depositing the remaining amount in the bank.

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