Leviste charged with malversation

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The Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday filed malversation complaint against former Batangas Gov. Jose Antonio Leviste in connection with the P151,385.42 cash advances he allegedly failed to liquidate in 2003 as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA).

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Likewise named respondent was former PRA accountant Philip John Moreno, who was the chief of PRA’s Financial Planning and Control Division.

Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer IV Maricel Marcial-Oquendo, in filing the case before the Sandiganbayan alleged that the respondents “did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, misappropriate, embezzle, appropriate and convert to their personal use and benefit, public funds in their custody and control by reason of the duties of their office in the total amount of One Hundred Fifty One Thousand Three Hundred Eighty Five Pesos and 42/100 (P151,385.42), of which they are accountable…”

Based on the charge sheet, the sum was part of the cash advances totalling P869,180.75 were drawn by Leviste for his foreign travels.

Moreno allegedly processed and/or facilitated the funds despite Leviste’s supposed failure to liquidate his previous cash advances, which led to the release of the P869,180.75.

Of the said cash advance, Leviste “failed to liquidate, refund or account for” P151,385.42 “despite demands from the Commission on Audit and the PRA, to the damage and prejudice of the Government and the PRA…,” the Ombudsman said.

The recommended bail was fixed at P40,000 each for the res­pondents.

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