2 Zamboanga mayors face raps over unliquidated cash advances

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Two mayors, one of whom was ordered dismissed from government service, face charges before the Sandiganbayan for failing to liquidate their cash advances.

Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte Mayor Crisostomo Eguia Jr. along with former municipal treasurer Cipriano Plazos and municipal accountant Urdaneta Madridondo were found guilty of gross misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, the Office of the Ombudsman said yesterday.

Aside from the dismissal, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said the respondents were meted the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The respondents will be indicted for multiple counts of graft, malversation of pubic funds and violations of the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.

The Commission on Audit (COA) said Eguia’s cash advances have remained unliquidated since 1998.

Eguia received P2 million in cash advances for his travel expenses from 1998 to 2011. 

Upon audit, COA uncovered several deficiencies, including  lack of supporting documents such as travel orders and receipts. 

“It is a declared public policy that all resources of the government should be managed, expended or utilized in accordance with the law and safeguarded against loss or wastage,” the ombudsman said.

“Eguia has the responsibility to ensure the proper granting, utilization and liquidation of all cash advances,” it added.

Meanwhile, Dinas, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Wilfredo Asoy faces graft, malversation of public funds and 30 counts of failure to render accounts for failing to liquidate P2.4 million in government funds. 

Records show Asoy made the cash advances for his travel expenses and intelligence fund as well as to buy supplies, gasoline and construction materials.

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