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Cebu News

Ombudsman junks complaint vs Tuburan town secretary

Mylen P. Manto - The Philippine Star

CEBU, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has dismissed the administrative complaint filed against a sangguniang bayan secretary of Tuburan, Cebu for lack of evidence.

Graft investigation and prosecution officer II Cynthia Maturan-Sibi said she found no evidence against Agnes Hoyohoy for grave misconduct and/or serious dishonesty.

“There is nothing in evidence that would unquestionably and convincingly point to respondent as the perpetrator of the alleged forgeries. Indeed, as argued by respondent, it is not in the natural course of things to ask complainant to sign the checks with falsified supporting documents,” the decision read.

It was former Tuburan mayor Constancio Suezo III who filed the complaint in 2013 against Hoyohoy.

He alleged that respondent forged his signature when it appeared in the disbursement voucher dated February 16, 2010 and that he already signed the same, when in fact, he did not.

The disbursement voucher was already certified to and signed by the municipal accountant and treasurer respectively for payment of “equipment and materials” amounting to P86,162.85.

However, Suezo said upon discovery of the forgery, he then cancelled the check.

Two days after, Suezo said respondent approached his secretary and made a follow-up if he had already signed the check and the requisition disbursement voucher. He said he told his secretary to relay his message to the respondent “to have the documents reconstructed.”

Suezo furthered that he requested the Philippine National Police Regional Crime Laboratory Office-7 for forensic examination on his purported signatures in the disbursement voucher, awards of bid and certification and the results. He added that his signature was found forged.

“Complainant believed that respondent forged his signatures in those documents because she was the one who prepared them, she was also the one who handed them to his secretary, and she would have been the one to pay the supplier,” the complaint read.

Suezo also said there was this undated disbursement voucher relative to the payment of supplies amounting to P25,608.46 which signature was allegedly forged by respondent.

Respondent denied the allegations filed against her as mentioned in her counter-affidavit. She said sometime in January 2010, she complained to then vice-mayor Rosemarie Gerona-Suezo, her head of office and the wife of complainant, that they had problems with their old computers and told her to replace them with new ones.

She said she asked the help of their IT personnel to list down the necessary items to be purchased and she prepared the request for quotation and sent them to different suppliers.

Hoyohoy said after the bidding, she prepared the necessary documents and the said documents were passed through and were approved by the different offices of the municipal government before they were submitted to Ann Edillon, the receiving staff of the Office of the Mayor for the signatures of then vice-mayor and then mayor.

On Feb. 5, 2010, she added, Edillon returned to her all the documents already signed by the complainant.

After the check was prepared by Wilfredo Tapang, in-charge in preparing the checks at the Office of the Municipal Treasurer, it was forwarded to the mayor for signature but the said check and its supporting documents were not returned to the municipal treasurer for the latter’s signature.

Thus, she inquired with Edillon the whereabouts of the documents including the check. However, she was told to reconstruct the document because they got lost and could no longer locate it.

Furthermore, Hoyohoy said she has no reason to forge the signature of the complainant. She added that if she intended to forge complainant’s signature to facilitate the payment, she could have forged all the documents, including the check to avoid detection. — (FREEMAN)

AGNES HOYOHOY

ANN EDILLON

CONSTANCIO SUEZO

CYNTHIA MATURAN-SIBI

DOCUMENTS

EDILLON

HOYOHOY

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

RESPONDENT

SUEZO

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