• Ombudsman finds ex-Bulacan mayor liable for fund misuse

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    The Office of the Ombudsman found former Mayor Joan Alarilla of Meycauayan, Bulacan administratively liable for allegedly allowing the misappropriation of public funds and ordered her dismissed from the service with perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

    The penalty of dismissal is convertible to a fine equivalent to her salary for one year, considering that she is no longer in the service.

    “There is substantial evidence that respondent Joan V. Alarilla committed Grave Misconduct and Serious Dishonesty in the approval of the disbursements and the release of public funds by simulating local government transactions, allowing the splitting of contracts, approving unconscionable purchases and disregarding established procurement rules and procedure, which caused undue injury to the City Government of Meycauayan,” the Ombudsman said in part in a 25-page decision.

    The case stemmed from Alarilla’s alleged issuance of 43 checks totaling P4.97 million in July to August 2007.

    The decision said Alarilla averred in a counter-affidavit that the checks “were issued to pay for legitimate transactions involving goods and services delivered by LC San Pascual Construction Supply and VSP Trading and General Merchandise.”

    But the Ombudsman held in its decision that proper procurement process was not followed since there was no proof to public bidding conducted by the city government for the purported awarded contracts.

    The projects covered the construction of artesian wells, rehabilitation of basketball courts, upgrading of perimeter fences and roads, procurement of patented school chairs, procurement of 50 pieces of photographs of Alarilla and picture frames, and t-shirts for meat butchers.

    It said that the Commission on Audit (COA) observed that the delivery receipts were allegedly not submitted and that the certificates of inspection and acceptance reports were allegedly undated.

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