Social welfare officer cleared

Michael Vencynth H. Braga (The Freeman) - March 1, 2017 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has cleared the social welfare officer of Sibonga town, about 50 kilometers south of Cebu City, over the delayed liquidation of her cash advances last year amounting to P4,302.

Despite getting cleared, social welfare and development officer Mildred Lauron got a stern warning from the anti-graft office not to commit the same offense again or she will risk facing stiffer penalty.

“Although the office takes note of the fact she only reimbursed the amount after filing of this complaint, still the belated reimbursement rendered this complaint moot as there is no more unliquidated cash advance to speak of,” read the resolution penned by lawyer Michael Mernado Jr., graft investigation and prosecution officer at the Ombudsman-Visayas.

The complaint stemmed from the findings of the Ombudsman's Field Investigation Office, which accused Lauron of “failure…to render accounts” which is punishable under the Revised Penal Code.

In August 2016, the Sibonga municipal government granted Lauron about P31,000 in cash advances, but she allegedly failed to fully settle the same.

In her counter-affidavit, Lauron said she was surprised when she learned in 2015 that she still had unliquidated cash advances of P19,302 in connection with her official travel to Davao City.

She explained that she only had P15,000 available cash at that time which she used to partially settle the advances, leaving a balance of P4,302.

Lauron added that she might have overlooked her cash advance balance probably due to her old age.

When she received the Ombudsman order, she said, she immediately settled the balance.

Records from the municipal accountant’s office showed that Lauron fully settled her cash advances on December 9, 2015.

In the resolution, the Ombudsman said Lauron settled her cash advances before the case was docketed, although she had a balance of P4,302.

“Thus, the criminal aspect of the case fails and so does the administrative aspect of being anchored on the criminal complaint,” the resolution read. (FREEMAN)

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