9 Coast Guard execs suspended over P27-M cash advances
In a 15-page consolidated order dated March 14, 2018, the ombudsman central office granted the motion of the Field Investigation Bureau of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (FIB-MOLEO) praying that the PCG officials be suspended pending the preliminary investigation on the administrative case against them.
Edd Gumban
9 Coast Guard execs suspended over P27-M cash advances
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - May 26, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the six-month preventive suspension of nine Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) officials including recently promoted Rear Admiral Athelo Ybañez and Commodore Teotimo Borja Jr. over their alleged anomalous cash advances from 2013 to 2016 totaling P27 million.

In a 15-page consolidated order dated March 14, 2018, the ombudsman central office granted the motion of the Field Investigation Bureau of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (FIB-MOLEO) praying that the PCG officials be suspended pending the preliminary investigation on the administrative case against them.

The administrative case involves allegations of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

The ombudsman said the respondents must be suspended pending the investigation of the case as “there is strong probability that they may influence witnesses or tamper with any evidence material to the case” given their power and authority.

  There were 21 PCG officials named as respondents in the case but 12 were no longer in the service including former PCG commandant retired Rear Admiral William Melad and his predecessor retired Vice Admiral Rodolfo Isorena.

Aside from Ybañez and Borja, the other incumbent PCG officials ordered suspended for six months were Commodore Joselito dela Cruz, Captains Julius Caesar Victor Marvin Lim, Juancho Marano and Tito Alvin Andal, Commanders Romeo Liwanag Jr. and Christine Pauline Diciano and Lieutenant Commander Fatima Aleli Angeles.

Though dated March 14, suspension order was approved and signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales only on April 30, coinciding with the day Ybañez and Borja took their oaths as promoted officials of the PCG before Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

From the ranks of Commodore and Captain, Ybañez and Borja were promoted by President Duterte to Rear Admiral and Commodore, respectively.

The FIB-MOLEO’s administrative case against the PCG officials stemmed from a Commission on Audit report showing that the liquidation documents submitted by the officials to justify the cash advances were spurious.

The ombudsman also said that while the respondents claimed that the cash advances were used to purchase various supplies and materials, “the records do not show” that the purchases have undergone any public bidding even when the transactions involved government funds.

The ombudsman had earlier ordered the filing of graft cases against Melad, Isorena and 23 other former and incumbent PCG officials over alleged anomalous procurement of various materials in 2014 amounting to P68 million.

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD
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