By John Constantine G. Cordon Reporter
The Commission on Audit ruled that two bank officers of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in Cotabato City should be held administratively liable after failing to exercise stringent measures that resulted in the loss of P32 million to another employee.
In a decision of Chairman Grace Pulido-Tan and Commissioner Heidi Mendoza, the en banc of the Audit agency did not extinguish the liability of Evelyn Yap, assistant cashier, and Perry Dequita, bank manager, in the loss of P32.7 million.
Records show that it was Verlina Silo, acting bank officer and cashier, who had the custody of the P988.11 million back in 1996 to 2000.
Silo was able to access the cash when she was appointed with two positions as currency operations officer and assistant cashier.
She started by taking one wrapper of P1,000 notes a day from her cash accountabilities kept inside the cash vault which she placed inside a green metal box.
She would carry the cash box outside the vault without anyone noticing and transfer the P1,000 wrapper into her bag. Then, she would replace the P1,000 bills with P100 notes by exchanging some of the P1,000 with any of the tellers until she was able to turn the 37 wrappers of P1,000 bills.
She was able to take out about five wrappers of P1,000 a week or P20 million a month. Silo eventually owned up to her mistakes.
COA said that if wrapper, bundle or box counting has been the practice adopted by the branch, the money should not be counted by box, rather by wrapper.
“But even this manner of counting was never carried out in the branch,” the decision read.
The Audit agency said that to protect cash from being misappropriated inside banks, two systems should be in place: a dual joint custody and dual control internal control.
The former being transactions should be done under the presence of another person; the latter should involve another set of eyes verifying the work of a previous one.
“The [two systems]have not been strictly observed during the four-year period when Silo acted as currency operations officer and assistant cashier. This only showed how lenient the bank [was]in implementing internal control measures,” the decision highlighted.
The en banc arrived in its decision when Pedro Tordilla Jr., managing director of BSP Regional Monetary Affairs Sub-sector, clarified if the accounts receivable of Yap should be extinguished.
Ruling on the matter, Tan and Mendoza said that Yap and Dequita did not practice utmost diligence to shield the cash from being misappropriated.
The Audit agency said that the shortage was not discovered during the counting turnover in June 2005 “precisely because there was no thorough counting that was made on that day.”
Even so, “there is no bank regulation that requires turnover of cash accountability to be done in just one day” and that a request to conduct a thorough counting was never made, the decision noted.
For their failure to carry out the “highest degree of care” to protect their accountabilities, the Commission denied the extinguishment of Yap and Dequita on the malversed cash.
Other branch managers who assigned Silo with the two positions are also asked to be “jointly and solidly liable.”
Apart from the ruling on Yap and Dequita, the Commission also ordered the regional director in Cotabato City to place Silo’s assets under constructive restraining order for her properties to be untouched to evade disposal.