Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has issued an order dismissing from the service the municipal treasurer of the town of Burdeos in Quezon for committing acts of grave misconduct and dishonesty.
Dominguez also ordered the suspension without pay for one year of a revenue officer of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for making incomplete and untruthful declarations in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) and for traveling overseas without the proper authority from the Department of Finance (DOF).
Another municipal treasurer from Sagbayan, Bohol was also suspended without pay for one month and one day for simple neglect of duty.
Dominguez also ordered the dismissal from the service of Nilda Salazar, the municipal treasurer of Mayantoc, Tarlac; and Wilfredo Alidon, municipal treasurer of Minglanilla, Cebu for various offenses.
These series of directives were implemented by the DOF on orders of the Office of the Ombudsman, which had conducted separate investigations on the erring officials.
In a separate case, Naime Ayuma, the municipal treasurer of Burdeos, Quezon, was ordered dismissed from the service and punished with accessory penalties such as cancellation of eligibility, perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of retirement benefits, after his appeal to reconsider the Ombudsman’s ruling against him was denied.
The Ombudsman also ordered Ayuma indicted for the criminal offense of malversation of public funds.
Ayuma’s case stemmed from the double reimbursement claims of P3,780 on his official travel.
The Ombudsman also ordered the one-year suspension without pay of Revenue Officer III Evelyn Ramirez with a “stern warning that a repetition” of her offense “will warrant a more severe penalty.”
Ramirez admitted to having made omissions and inconsistencies in her SALN for various years starting in 2004 up to 2013. She also admitted going overseas in her personal capacity without securing travel authority from the DOF.
Ramirez was found liable for committing acts prejudicial to the best interest of the service and violating reasonable office rules and regulations.
Anita Pacheco, the municipal treasurer of Sagbayan, Bohol was meted with a lighter penalty of suspension for one month and one day without pay after she admitted to have failed in liquidating P43,731.89 in cash advances on time because of work pressures, aggravated by the fact that the required documents were lost during the 2013 Bohol earthquake.
In another case, Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) OIC Executive Director Niño Raymond Alvina recommended to Secretary Dominguez the filing of administrative charges and a lifestyle check against the municipal treasurer of Porac in Pampanga after P17 million in the town’s funds was found missing last March.
In a report to Dominguez, Alvina said Porac municipal treasurer Maria Luisa Vitug has been relieved and replaced by an acting municipal treasurer, Bernadette Duya, to “ensure continuous local government operations” in this town.
The BLGF learned of Vitug’s case when Porac Mayor Condralito Dela Cruz forwarded the Letter of Demand issued to Vitug by the Audit Team Leader of the Commission on Audit, Region III, for incurring a cash shortage of P17 million to BLGF Regional Office in Pampanga, which then ordered the immediate relief of Vitug and replaced her with Duya.
Vitug was likewise “instructed to close the book of accounts and transfer her accountabilities to the incoming acting municipal treasurer, but Ms. Vitug failed to appear on the said turnover despite the notice,” Alvina said in his report coursed through DOF Undersecretary Antonette Tionko.
On March 27, the BLGF Regional Office under OIC Regional Director Divina Corpuz received Vitug’s letter tendering her irrevocable resignation. In response, the Regional Office advised Vitug to immediately report to her official station ‘as it appeared that there was no proper transfer of accountability” on her part.
Corpuz likewise requested the regional office of the Commission on Audit (COA) in Pampanga to make a final audit report on the missing funds. Corpuz also forwarded to Alvina documents showing Vitug’s unauthorized absences beginning March 20, 2017. No travel authority was issued to Vitug on those dates.
“It is noted that the overt acts of Ms. Vitug constitutes abandonment of office. The Supreme Court, in a series of cases, has considered abandonment of office as Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, a grave offense under Section 46 (B) of the RRACS (Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service),” Alvina said in his report.
Alvina already issued a show cause memorandum against Vitug through registered mail to the last known address of Vitug last June 8, 2017.
To date, the BLGF has yet to receive Vitug’s answer under oath why she should not be charged administratively for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service by abandoning her office.
On the watch of Secretary Dominguez, the DOF has thus far taken punitive action against at least 19 erring local treasurers and other officials under its supervision, in line with President Duterte’s commitment to public accountability and transparency in government under his administration.