THE Office of the Ombudsman has upheld its order dismissing former Municipal Mayor Jose Villarosa of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro from service, after finding him liable in connection with the alleged anomalous use of the municipality’s tobacco trust fund in 2010.
Likewise ordered dismissed from service were former Municipal Accountant Pablo Alvaro and Municipal Treasurer Carlito Cajayon.
“They were ordered dismissed after they were found guilty of Grave Misconduct, Dishonesty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service,” the Ombudsman said in a statement on Thursday.
“Ombudsman (Conchita Carpio) Morales directed the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to implement the dismissal order,” it said.
In case the respondent is no longer in government service, the penalty of dismissal is convertible to a fine equivalent to his salary for a year.
Aside from dismissal, Villarosa, Alvaro, and Cajayon face perpetual disqualification from reemployment in government, cancellation of their eligibility, and forfeiture of retirement benefits.
The Ombudsman last year filed graft and technical malversation charges against them before the Sandiganbayan in connection with the misuse of P2.9 million of the municipality’s tobacco excise tax in 2010 when Villarosa was the municipal mayor.
The “funds should be used solely for cooperative, livelihood and or agro-industrial projects that enhance the quality of agricultural products, develop alternative farming systems, or enable tobacco farmers to manage and own post-harvest enterprises,” it said.
The Ombudsman found that Villarosa authorized the use of the tobacco trust fund to pay for 10 multi-cab vehicles, Christmas lights, meals and snacks for newly-elected barangay (village) captains, medicines, gravel and sand, and bus and vehicle rentals.
“(N)o genius is required to discern the disparity between the Legislature’s declared policy and respondents’ actual expenditures,” it said, adding that “the diversion of funds resulted in the deprivation of farmers who were the intended beneficiaries.”
Villarosa, who was also a former Oriental Mindoro congressional representative, posted bail of P432,000 last week at the Sandiganbayan for his provisional liberty. The National Bureau of Investigation agents arrested him in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro on January 6.
In 2006, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court convicted Villarosa in connecting with the 1997 murder of Michael and Paul Quintos – sons of his political rival and former lawmaker Ricardo Quintos Sr.
The Court of Appeals overturned the verdict in 2008 for lack of evidence.