• DTI director slapped with malversation rap

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    A director of the Department of Trade and Industry is facing malversation charge before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly pocketing nearly a million pesos of cash advance without liquidating it.

    The Office of the Ombudsman slapped Pedro Vicente Mendoza, director-in-charge of the Bureau of Product Standards, after enough evidence was found that he failed to liquidate P929,375, drawing probable cause from the anti-graft agency that he pocketed the cash.

    Mendoza was charged in his capacity as the former director of the Philippine Shippers Bureau in 2007 at the time of the 39th Asean Economic Ministers’ Meeting, whose funds were under the custody of Mendoza.

    In the six-page resolution of the Ombudsman, Mendoza received a P7,522 for his travel expense to Davao City wherein P6,130 was already cleared.

    He was also the special disbursing officer who was granted cash advance worth P979,375 on August 16, 2007, which was used to defray expenses for the Asean meeting, which his department took charge of.

    After demand letters from the Commission on Audit asked him to clear his obligations, Mendoza failed to liquidate the amount despite being given an extension.

    He only liquidated P50,000 for partial liquidation but the remaining is still uncleared, the Ombudsman resolution showed.

    During investigation, Mendoza did not file a counter-affidavit or any controverting evidence.

    “The respondent’s failure to liquidate the subject cash advance despite demand by the Audit commission is a prima facie evidence that he misappropriated [the fund for the Asean conference],” the Ombudsman ruled.

    The agency though said that Mendoza is not culpable in regard to the travel expense since it can be deducted from his salary.

    A bail of P30,000 is imposed on Mendoza for his provisional liberty.

    John Constantine G. Cordon

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