• NE mayor, 3 others buried in P21-M raps

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    A FORMER mayor and three other public officials in the province of Nueva Ecija was heaped with 33 counts of charges for the delay and failure to remit Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) premium contribution between 2007 and 2010.

    The Office of the Ombudsman charged former-Mayor Romeo Borja Sr. of Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija of 33 counts of violation of the GSIS Act.

    Charged alongside are budget officer Johnson Mangalili, accountant Rosita Yang, and treasurer Jorja Palacio for not remitting the GSIS contributions of Gerardo Sator, the complainant.

    The Ombudsman found that a total of P32,071.77 of Sator’s contributions were not remitted on top of a P21-million trust liabilities that was not also remitted during the same years.

    According to the Commission on Audit report, which Sator cited in his complaint, these public officials delayed and failed to remit exactly P21.03-million trust liabilities to GSIS.

    The non-remittance of Sator’s contributions and the P21-million trust liabilities form part of Sator’s complaint, which the Ombudsman upheld.

    In giving the accused his side, Borja, in his counter-affidavit, blamed the past administration of Lucio Uera that left unpaid GSIS remittances but promptly admitted the accusation of Sator.

    In the recent May election, Borja and Uera vied for the mayoralty race, but the latter emerged as the new mayor of the town.

    Borja added that when he resumed office on July 2007 they paid remittances corresponding to five months that the past administration failed to settle.

    He added that they had been dealing with the GSIS and offered to pay P3 million, but GSIS did not accept it because the exact beneficiaries were not identified, which the GSIS requires.

    Borja elaborated that they are not able to comply with the requirement of GSIS because of resignation and hiring of new employees. In ruling on the matter, the Ombudsman sided with the complainant.

    “Records disclosed that the monthly GSIS premium contributions . . . were not promptly remitted,” the Ombudsman resolution read, adding that Borja’s letter to the GSIS regional manager on July 28, 2011 “cannot overturn” that as early as August 2007 they failed to remit the contributions of the complainant, “among other municipal employees.”

    The Ombudsman added that there was no exchange of communication between Borja and GSIS regarding the offer of Borja to pay P3 million.

    The office resolved that Borja must have provided written offers of the amount and mode of payment to support the P3-million payment but this was not done.

    “Thus, in the absence of such evidence, said claim of the respondents cannot be given credence,” the resolution read.

    The Ombudsman however junked charges of graft and violations of the Local Government Code of 1991. It also junked the charges against cashier Elvira Gonzales.

    The Ombudsman recommended a bail of P10,000 per count.

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