Three more employees of the Bacolod City Government Office were ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas for having allegedly committed serious dishonesty in the administrative case filed by the Commission on Audit VI in 2004 during the administration of former Mayor Luzviminda Valdez involving tampering of receipts.
Ordered dismissed with the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the government service, were Assistant City Treasurer Lilia Ursos, Budget Officer Luzviminda Treyes and Project Development Officer Leo Villanueva.
The order also included acting Management Service Officer Ricardo Dahildahil Jr., who was earlier meted the penalty of dismissal involving a similar case during the previous administration, together with three other employees.
Treyes, Ursos and Villanueva were previously not included in the administrative case filed by COA VI against former Secretary to the Mayor Brendo Elegio, et al. in 2004.
The Ombudsman, however, dismissed the charges filed against Elegio and Ma. Andrea Si, former City Administrator, for being moot and academic.
It also dismissed, for lack of substantial evidence, the complaint filed against former City Treasurer Florentino Guanco.
Treyes said she, together with Ursos and Villanueva, were not included in the original complaint filed by COA. She said she believes they are victims of injustice.
The case stemmed from the joint affidavit of Sheila Velmonte-Portal and Mylene Romero of COA on a post-audit they conducted on the disbursement vouchers of the city that included the claim for reimbursement of expenses of former Executive Assistant Susan Robles of P100,000.
They noted that Cash Slip No. 12870 dated June 2, 2004, supporting the claim, appeared to be falsified and that, after verification, they found out that the actual amount was only P133.75, or an over-claim of P99,866.25.
AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS, ONLY
Treyes said they only issued certificate of availability of funds. The receipt did not originate from their office, she said.
The Ombudsman, however, concluded there was conspiracy, Treyes said. They do not know that the Allotment and Obligation Slip (ALOBS) is prepared before processing the claim to ensure that funds are available for the purpose, she said.
They signed the ALOBS in good faith and she said that she is planning to seek the help of COA in enlightening the Ombudsman about the procedure.
Treyes said their duty was only to certify appropriations, but the Ombudsman pointed out that not one of them scrutinized the documents that had been attached. “But that is not our job since that is the job of the Management and Audit Service Office,” Treyes said.
She also said they had filed a motion for reconsideration through the late City Legal Officer Allan Zamora after the case was filed against them.
COMFORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT
They received the dismissal order of the Ombudsman Wednesday last week and Mayor Evelio Leonardia issued a memorandum implementing it on Thursday, she said.
Treyes said the Mayor called the three of them on the same day and they thank him for comforting them and encouraging them to be strong since he knows they did not do it. She told him that she does not know what to do, since she is dependent on her salary, she said.
She rose from the ranks and has been in government service for 36 years, and that she will turn 60 in December, Treyes said. She was planning to retire before reaching 60 or 61, but did not expect this would happen, she said.
Treyes said her husband has just retired and they still have some family members to support. Meanwhile, the husband of Ursos is undergoing dialysis in Cebu, she said.
LEGAL SERVICE OFFERED
“I am positive that God will help the three of us. I will also prove to the Ombudsman that I did not conspire,” she added.
Treyes said she is thankful that Councilor Dindo Ramos and many others have offered her their services. They will also be assisted by the City Legal Office, she said.*CGS