• High Tribunal affirms disallowance ruling against Cagayan mayors

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    THE Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed a ruling of the Commission on Audit (COA) finding an incumbent, a former mayor and other local officials in Cagayan province liable for amounts covered by several Notices of Disallowance.

    In a June 21, 2016 ruling promulgated by Clerk of Court Felipa Anama that was only released recently, the High Court denied a petition filed by Mayor Nicanor de Leon and former Mayor Pacita de Leon of Amulung town seeking to reverse and set aside the COA ruling.

    On September 10, 2009, state auditors conducted a special audit of accounts of Municipal Treasurer Luzviminda Macasio for January 1, 2000-June 30, 2009.

    It was discovered that municipal funds worth more than P18 million were illegally disbursed through manipulation of accounting records and books, as well as the treasurer’s cashbooks and reports.

    The commission issued 38 NDs holding the town officials liable for the disallowed amounts until the case reached the tribunal.

    In its decision, the SC held the petition lacked merit.

    “It is noteworthy that the COA found petitioners solidarily liable for the disallowed amount[s]not only for the non-presentation of the DVs [disbursement vouchers], the ground raised in the NDs, but also for the irregularities stated in the Annual Report for the municipality of Amulung from 2002 to 2008,” it said.

    “It is clear that petitioners cannot feign ignorance of the illegal disbursement by simply offering a measly excuse that they just followed the practice previously observed,” the High Court added.

    JOMAR CANLAS

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