Ombuds clears MCWD execs from criminal, administrative charges
Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - June 13, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The anti-graft office has dismissed the criminal and administrative complaints filed against the former and present official of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) for allegedly authorizing the grant of benefits and bunoses which were disallowed by Commission on Audit (COA) in audit.

Graft investigation and prosecution officer II Farrah Fortich-Quimada dismissed the anti-graft case and grave misconduct without prejudice pending final resolution of the COA.

“ Given the pendency of respondents’ appeal from the notices of allowances before the COA Regional Office, it is premature if not improper for this Office to rule on the individual respondent’s liability, lest pre-emptive COA’s independent assessment of the case,” stated the joint resolution.

In their complaint, Field Investigation Office (FIO) alleged MCWD former general manager Armando Ramon Paredes, former assistant general manager Vesmindo Santiago, former board of directors Eligio Pacaña, Juan Saul Montecillo, Cynthia Barrit, Manuel Legaspi, Daniel Landingin, Benjamin Militar, Department Manager A-Human Resource Department Tertuliana Andaya, and Chairman of the Board Joel Mari Yu violated anti-graft and grave misconduct.

They were accused of facilitating the grant and distribution of excessive and irregular fringe benefits  to themselves and to rank and file employees of MCWD like 13th month pay and cash gifts for 2010-2011, performance based bonus (PBB), collective negotiation agreement incentive, corporate performance incentive bonus, and school opening bonus.

FIO alleged they based their complaint in the notices of disallowance issued by the COA relative to the questioned disbursements, the COA Trennium Audit Report on MCWD for 2010-2012, disbursement vouchers, among others.

Allegedly, COA disallowed the payment of the 13th month pay and cash gifts to the Board of Directors (BOD) of MCWD pursuant to the Department of Budget and Management letter dated January 2, 2002 which provides that members of the BOD of agencies are not salaried officials of the government.

On the payment of PBB, FIO alleged that it has no legal basis pursuant to Section 13 of Presidential Decree 198.

FIO further stated that the other benefits were disallowed by the COA becase these are not among the benefits authorized under the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Resolution No. 89, series of 2009.

Respondents denied the allegations filed against them for lack of factual and legal basis.

Also, they claimed that the notices of disallowance were not yet final and conclusive pending appeal.

Quimada, in her 13-page penned joint resolution,  dismissed the case because respondents’ liability is dependent on the validity or invalidity of the questioned disbursements. — MBG (FREEMAN)

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