BAGUIO CITY – The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed a board member of Mountain Province for falsifying documents in a P7,800 cash advance.
Committing serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, Mt. Province Board Member Romeo Pagedped, who submitted the alleged falsified documents to liquidate his cash advance, was ordered also to face the accessory penalty of cancellation of his eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office and barred from taking civil service examinations.
The 7-page decision approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, also added that in the event that the penalty of dismissal can no longer be enforced due to his separation from the service, the same shall be converted into a fine in the amount equivalent to his salary for one year, payable to the Ombudsman and may be deductible from his retirement benefits, accrued leave credits or any receivables from his office.
Pagedped accordingly was able to obtain a cash advance of P7,800 for him to attend a Civil Service Summit on Administrative Governance in the Cordillera from June 20-22, 2012.
He reportedly liquidated his cash advance by submitting official receipt issued by the CSC-CAR, travel order, CSC-CAR certificate of appearance to prove his attendance in the summit, revised itinerary of travel showing the amount of P7,800 as his total expense for the travel and certificate of travel completed that allowed him to claim an additional P460 for the said travel.
But the official did not actually attend the summit and the submitted documents were allegedly falsified as proven by the CSC-CAR’s daily report of collections and deposits from June 1-30, 2012 which does not show OR No. 2379437-5 in the list of ORs issued and the attendance sheets for the summit which do not show his name.
The complaint also contended that Pagedped should be held administratively liable for serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for allegedly using falsified documents to make it appear that he attended the summit, thereby entitling him to the cash advance and to collect an additional amount for his travel expenses.
Pagedped denied the allegations against him, arguing that he was not able to sign the attendance sheet because he was late and forgot to log in.
Moreover, the questioned OR number was reportedly handed to him by another board member to whom he had entrusted the payment of the seminar registration of P5,400.
He stated that he had no reason to doubt his colleague or the authenticity of the questioned OR, he had submitted all the documents to liquidate his cash advance and the Commission on Audit (COA) did not issue any audit observation memorandum or notice of disallowance or suspension on the liquidation of the cash advance.
Pagedped asserted that he could not be made administratively liable for the alleged act because the same was committed during his last term as board member in the immediately succeeding election.
But the Ombudsman said that the board member failed to satisfactorily overcome the allegation that he did not attend the summit and that the affidavits of his witnesses attesting to his purported presence during the summit cannot prevail over the official documents of the CSC-CAR such as the daily report and the attendance sheets of the summit.
The dishonest act of the local official effectively tarnished the image and integrity of his public office, also making him administratively liable for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, the Ombudsman’s ruling reiterated. ACE ALEGRE / ABN
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