• Slowpoke accountant sent to jail, fined P10,000

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    A former municipal accountant in Maguindanao province was thrown behind bars after the Sandiganbayan proved that she failed to remit premium contributions from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and collected dues from municipal employees.

    The Sandiganbayan Third Division convicted Monawara Kiga, office-in-charge (OIC)-municipal accountant of Paglat Town, for violating the Revised GISIS Act of 1997. She was fined P10,000 and must serve a year in jail.

    The case stemmed from the complaint of Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) president Datu Luminog Salendab. The youth council leader alleged that Kiga, Paglat mayor Datu Conte Tampungan Mangelen, and municipal treasurer Salem Bagumbayan failed to remit and delayed the remittance of GSIS contributions of municipal employees amounting to P437,601.43.

    All of them were charged but it was only Kigat who was sentenced. Mangelen’s liability was extinguished in view of his death, while Bagumbayan is still at-large.

    The anti-graft noted neither party contested that the GSIS premiums of the municipality . . . were not remitted on time.

    “The municipality of Paglat . . . incurred delay of more than thirty days in the payment, turnover, remittance or delivery to the GSIS of the municipal employees’ monthly premiums and contributions,” the ruling stated.

    The court gave weight on admission of the accused: “Kiga did not recant her admission nor argue it was made through palpable mistake.”

    The anti-graft court sentenced her to one year and a fine of P10,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of failure to pay the fine. Kiga also is barred from holding public office and from practicing any profession licensed by the government.

    In such short-term jail sentence, an accused can move for probation as enshrined in the Probation Law.

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