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SC suspends Lipa court officials over missing P1.69M


The Supreme Court on Friday suspended three court officials in Lipa City following complaints that P1.69 million has been missing from their Judiciary Development Fund.

The suspended officials, Donabel Savadera, Evelyn Landicho and the lawyer Celso Apusen, were also ordered to account for official receipts worth P2.08 million that have been missing from the court.

The Court has issued a hold-departure order against the three officials pending the conclusion of the audit conducted in the Office of the Clerk of Court of Lipa City in March. It also chided the lawyer Sheila Angela Sarmiento, who is in charge of the office, for dereliction of her duties as supervisor, which resulted in the misappropriation of judiciary funds amounting to P1.69 million. Sarmiento was also asked to justify why she should not be slapped with administrative sanctions for the lapse.

Executive Judge Jane Aurora Lantion of the Lipa Regional Trial Court was directed to monitor Sarmiento to ensure that she adheres strictly to circulars and other issuances of the Court and avoid similar irregularities in the future.

In another development, Sheriff 4 Alfonso Ignacio Jr. of the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City has been dismissed for grave misconduct. He failed to enforce a writ of execution despite having been given a partial payment of P1,200.

In another case, the Supreme Court affirmed a Sandiganbayan decision convicting Rosalia Dugayon, former assistant regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and her co-accused, Jessec Callangan, of violating the Antigraft and Corrupt Practices Act. The antigraft court held that the two conspired in defrauding the government of P97,690 regarding the anomalous purchase of 19 typewriters in 1989.

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