OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio-Morales on Wednesday filed 46 counts of malversation charges against a former high-ranking official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) who failed to liquidate P44.3 million from 1998 to 2007.
Morales said Gideon de Guzman, the Comelec’s former director for finance services, repeatedly ignored demands for him to liquidate the said amount.
She said de Guzman’s failure to settle and liquidate the P44,332,613.67 despite repeated demands raises the presumption that he has either appropriated, took, misappropriated or through abandonment or negligence allowed another person to take them.
The P44 million was issued to de Guzman as a cash advance for the expenditure on conferences and meetings, food allowances, gifts and tokens.
Under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, malversation is committed when a public officer who has custody of funds or property by reason of the duties of his office and to which he is accountable, appropriated, took, misappropriated or consented or, through abandonment or negligence, permitted another person to take these funds or property.
Also, the same law can be used against a public officer who, in the discharge of his official functions, acts with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross inexcusable negligence causing undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference.
De Guzman was dismissed from public service on July 15, 2012.