MANILA, Philippines - An administrative officer of Rizal, Nueva Ecija is facing administrative charges for allowing the personal use of a government vehicle in his custody.
Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez ordered the filing of charges against Edgardo N. Mangahas, Administrative Officer IV of the Municipal Government of Rizal, Nueva Ecija, for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).
The Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office said Mangahas is the custodian of a red Nissan pick-up with plate number SGR 828 owned by the Municipality of Rizal.
The said vehicle was spotted at the Premier Hospital in Cabanatuan City on July 22, 2007, a Sunday, with its driver Sergio Q. Tuapen Sr. and 4 other government employees. It was used to fetch the said employees, who at that time took the Civil Service Examinations, and afterwards proceeded to the hospital where the passengers visited a patient.
Investigation revealed the trip was not covered by a Travel Order, nor did the Driver’s Trip Ticket include the date when it was seen at the hospital.
In a nine-page Resolution, the Ombudsman said that being the custodian of the vehicle, Mangahas had the “duty to see to it that the same be used in accordance with the laws, rules and regulations… [a]s the legal custodian thereof, it was his right, just as much as his obligation, to keep its keys.”
The Ombudsman noted that had Mangahas taken hold of the keys, the driver “could not have taken the same and used it for his own activities. Evidently, Tuapen Sr. was able to use the vehicle because he had possession of, or at the very least, had been given by respondent unbridled access to the keys.”
In addition to the filing of charges, the Ombudsman also ordered Mangahas’ one month suspension from office, without pay, for violation of Section 4, par. A (a) of Republic Act No. 6713 (The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees).
The Ombudsman likewise ordered the filing of charges against the driver Tuapen Sr. for the unauthorized use of the government-owned vehicle.
In a separate case, the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of Marilou Relova, Local Revenue Collection Officer II in Quezon, Palawan, for accumulating unliquidated cash advances amounting to P1,904, 621.23 from 2001 to 2005. The said amount was intended for the procurement of materials for cultural and economic affairs of the local government, salaries and wages, traveling expenses and other operating expenses.
Investigation by the Commission on Audit (COA) revealed that the accumulation resulted from the practice of granting and claiming of additional cash advances without requiring first the liquidation of previous cash advances.
Ombudsman Gutierrez ruled that Relova’s “justification that she extended “vales” to municipal officials and employees for humanitarian reasons did not obliterate the fact that she knowingly acted beyond the scope of her authority. Said act of the respondent constitute grave misconduct as it involves willful intent to violate the law or to disregard established rules.”