• Ex-Basilan exec in trouble over gas expenses

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    THE Office of the Ombudsman said that it has found sufficient grounds to file a case at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan against former Arleigh Eisma, former vice mayor of Lamitan City, in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, for alleged unlawful disbursement of funds paid to a gas station he supposedly owned.

    The charge was for violation of Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    Eisma allegedly facilitated and approved gasoline expenses totaling P1,120,186.90 for his private service vehicles from Aug. to Oct. 2012, the Ombudsman said in a statement issued Friday, citing its resolution.

    It alleged that the respondent alone approved all trip tickets, purchase requests, purchase orders, inspection and acceptance reports, checks and disbursement vouchers.

    According to the Ombudsman, Eisma said in his counter-affidavit that there were only three gas stations in Lamitan, two of which were owned by a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council).

    Eisma also asserted that “the city council would not have any fuel supply if relationship is made a prohibition.”

    But in its resolution, the Ombudsman said “the transactions were all undertaken with respondent fully knowing that they will be beneficial and favorable to him as owner of the gasoline station.”

    “[T]his is a clear transgression on the prohibition of a public official having pecuniary interest on a transaction which requires the intervention of his office,” it alleged.

    The Local Government Code prohibits local government officials from engaging in business transactions with the local government units, where they are officials or over which they have the power of supervision where public funds are to be paid.

    In this case, the Ombudsman said, the receipts issued by the gas station “clearly indicated” Eisma’s name as registered proprietor of the business. REINA TOLENTINO

    RT/BF

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