Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered the filing of malversation and graft charges against at least 30 former high-ranking officials of the state-run Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).
Citing a Commission on Audit (COA) report, Morales approved the filing of the complaints against the ex-LWUA officials for claiming excessive extraordinary expenses in 2006 worth P12.9 million which were merely supported by pro forma certificates instead of official receipts and documents.
Moreover, the P12.9 million amount exceeded the budget ceiling provided by the Department of Budget and Management.
Former Administrator Lorenzo Jamora led the respondents with 150 counts each for malversation and graft raps. Other LWUA officials who also face multiple counts of malversation and graft raps include Aurora Raymundo-Arnaez (15 counts), Leonard Matti (15 counts), Francisco Dumpit (seven counts), Eduardo Bangayan (11 counts), Daniel Landingin (101 counts), Emmanuel Malicdem (74 counts), Lilian Asprer (54 counts), Wilfredo Feleo (41 counts), Jesus Copuyoc (12 counts), Edelwina Parungao (11 counts), Manalo Kagahastian (12 counts), Manuel Yoingco (13 counts), Alfredo Espino (12 counts) and Rebecca Barbo (11 counts).
Their other co-accused were Armando Fernandez (12 counts each), Edwin Ruiz (12 counts), Bernardito de Jesus (13 counts), Antonio Magtibay (13 counts), Enrique Gita (12 counts), Avelino Castillo (20 counts), Lourdes Perele (43 counts), Mario Quitoriano (10 counts), Eleanora de Jesus (63 counts), Hermilo Balucan (9 counts), Edison Cuenca (1 count), Venus Pozon (14 counts), Julian Tajolosa (13 counts), Primo Lomibao (230 counts), Arnaldo Espinas (12 counts), Almer Zerrudo (12 counts), Leopoldo Palad (263 counts) and Julita Corpuz (36 counts).
“By attesting that the funds were spent on meetings, seminars and conferences, official entertainment, and public relations when there were no receipts and other supporting documents to prove such expenses, respondents made untruthful statements on a public document to facilitate the misappropriation of public funds,” the Ombudsman said.
It was only in July 2009 that the COA issued a Notice of Disallowance disallowing the claims for reimbursement of extraordinary expenses ranging from P230,000 to P986,356 per Executive.
The Ombudsman said the respondents “acted with evident bad faith and/or gross inexcusable negligence when they caused and/or participated in the illegal release of funds.”
In a related development, Morales also found Jamora and the other officials guilty of dishonesty, grave misconduct and falsification of official documents.