Ex-Surigao del Norte town mayor, 5 others rapped for graft

MANILA -- The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has ordered the indictment of former Sta. Monica, Surigao del Norte Mayor Rosalinda Penera for violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act for irregularities in the disbursement of funds for a core shelter project.

Also ordered indicted are municipal officials Dianette Evangelista, Aurea Menil, Gilbert Dagcuta and Lei Amor Laplana, and private individual Rodolfo Arlan.

Graft probers found out that Penera and the others approved and facilitated the purchase of a parcel of land from Arlan in 2010 for the core shelter project worth PHP980,000.

However, documents showed that the purchase was made without prior authorization from the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) and despite the absence of an appropriation ordinance.

In its resolution, the Ombudsman said that public respondents manifested gross inexcusable negligence from the processing of the disbursements of funds as they should have known of the irregularities of the purchase transaction as per their functions. Despite this, they still pursued the transaction, thereby giving unwarranted benefits to Arlan.

In addition, conspiracy can be inferred from the respondents' respective participation in the purchase transaction as they aimed their acts towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful object, it added.

In the related administrative case, Menil, Evangelista, Dagcuta and Laplana were found guilty of grave misconduct and ordered dismissed from the service.

They were also meted the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office and cancellation of eligibility. In case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to their salary for one year.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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