Friday, January 11, 2013

Joson, 3 town execs charged before Ombudsman for graft

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija–The municipal mayor of Quezon, Nueva Ecija and three other town officials were charged before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged non-remittance of Government Service Insurance System premiums of employees and unliquidated cash advances and disbursements worth at least P100 million.

          Charged in a seven-page complaint-affidavit filed before the Office of the Ombudsman for Luzon were Quezon Mayor Mariano Cristino Joson, municipal treasurer Anacleta Arucan, municipal accountant Rona Joson and municipal budget officer Leilani Domingo.

          Joson, a former vice governor, is the husband of first district Rep. Josie Manuel-Joson who is running for governor against reelectionist Gov. Aurelio Umali. He is running for congressman in the district to take his wife’s place.

          Joson declined to comment on the complaint but the Joson camp dismissed it as sheer political harassment.

          Congresswoman Joson said the claim of non-payment by the municipal government under her husband is a malicious allegation. “It is a sign of desperation on the part of the Umalis,” she said. 

She said the municipal government has already forged a memorandum of agreement with the GSIS wherein the municipality is already paying for the GSIS premiums.

          “In fact, the municipality of Quezon is in a much better position now than the provincial Capitol which has not forged a MOA with the GSIS. It is the Capitol which is guilty of non-remittance, certainly not Mayor Joson and not the municipality of Quezon,” she said.

          The charges, filed by former municipal assessor Ruperto Libunao, accuse Joson and the three others of dereliction of duty, violation of Republic Act 8291 or the GSIS Act of 1997 and violation of Republic Act 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

          A separate administrative complaint has been filed by Libunao before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan led by Vice Gov. Jose Gay Padiernos.

          Libunao is running as vice mayor in Quezon. He is the running mate of mayoralty candidate Fred Hermoso, an ally of Umali.

          The complaint cited that under Section 6 of RA 8291, the respondents are duty-bound to collect from the employees their contribution to the monthly GSIS premiums and to remit the same directly to the GSIS within 10 days of the month.

          Section 6.b of RA 8291, the complaint stated, stipulates that the remittance of the GSIS contributions by the municipal government “shall take priority over and above the payment of any and all obligations, except salaries and wages of employees.”        

          Libunao said the respondents collected from municipal employees, both permanent and casual, their contribution of GSIS premiums during the administration of Joson as municipal mayor from 2001 to 2004 and from 2010 up to present.

          Libunao said in his case, he gave P97,958.76 from January 2006 to June 2010 as his personal share in the GSIS premium.

          “However, contrary to the clear and mandatory provisions of the said law, we found out that respondents did not remit my contributions of premium to the GSIS as well as the government or the local government unit share as well as salary and policy loan payments within the required period specified in the said law to my damage and prejudice,” Libunao said.

          Citing a 2010 annual audit report of the municipality, the complaint said that in 2009, the unremitted employees’ contribution was recorded at P11.7 million. This ballooned to P15.38 million in 2010.

          The complaint further said that the town only had cash amounting to P4.2 million in 2010, which was not enough to cover its outstanding obligations worth P29.26 million for the same year.

           With these figures, the complaint stated, “it can be safely presumed that respondents only 
collected our employees’ contribution without remitting the same within the required period and worse, even misappropriated the same considering that the Municipality of Quezon has no cash to cover the unremitted outstanding dues to the GSIS.”
       The complaint cited other alleged anomalies and cash deficiencies in the municipal government among which are:

·        the town’s total liability is at P48.87 million;
·        it has no income in 2011 and in fact has incurred a liability worth P9.598 million;    
·        aside from having zero assets, the town has liabilities with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Pag-ibig and PhilHealth;
·        in the 2011 annual audit report, it was discovered that the municipality has unliquidated cash advances and disbursement receipts worth P100 million;
·        that the municipal government failed to remit P2 million in outstanding real property tax shares to the provincial government; and
·        it has a cash overdraft of P22.4 million.

      Libunao said in view of the above facts, the respondents are liable for dereliction of duty, violations of RA 8291 and 3019, violation of the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code and violation of existing auditing practices.
          The complainant also moved for the preventive suspension of the four respondents.

         In the separate eight-page administrative complaint filed before the SP, Libunao moved for the preventive suspension of the four, citing that the evidence of guilt against them is strong considering the audit findings. He said their continued stay in office could prejudice the just, fair and independent disposition of probable cause against them.
The issuance of a preventive suspension order, the SP complaint said, shall preclude the possibility of the respondents exerting undue influence on the complainants and witnesses and the possibility of tampering of evidence considering that they are the heads of their respective offices, having control and custody of the documents which may be used against them. (Manny Galvez)

Gunman in murder of Ecija school principal arrested

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija–The lone gunman in the cold-blooded, broad daylight killing of a sexagenarian school principal shortly before Christmas last year was arrested by police in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija, the Philippine National Police said yesterday. 

Senior Superintendent Walter Castillejos, PNP provincial director, identified the suspect as Henry Talplacido of Zaragoza.

Talplacido was arrested by operatives of the nearby Aliaga police along Del Pilar St., Barangay Sta. Lucia, Zaragoza.

 Castillejos said Talplacido was the one who shot Nila Mactal, school principal of the Zaragoza National High School inside her residential compound in Barangay Poblacion Centro, Aliaga at around 10:30 am last December 22.

Mactal, 62, was sweeping dried leaves inside the compound when  the gunman barged inside and fired at her from point-blank range, hitting her repeatedly.       The suspect, dressed in black shirt and pants and wearing smoked glass, fled aboard a black/orange motorcycle.
   Mactal sustained several gunshot wounds and was rushed to the Nueva Ecija Doctors Hospital in this city but died while on the operating table.
   Chief Inspector Roberto Sena, Aliaga police chief, said Talplacido matched the description of witnesses. Earlier, the gunman was described as between 5’7 to 5’9 in height, medium-built and fair-complexioned.  

Sena said Talplacido was a member of a gun-for-hire group hired by someone to kill Mactal. He said the motive for the killing was an old grudge.
   Sena said prior to the killing, Mactal reportedly told her family that she has been receiving death threats and that if something happened to her, this would be the handiwork of a certain Peter Palapal, chief security of the ZNHS with whom Mactal figured in a heated argument.  

Sena said they are still gathering evidence against Palapal preparatory to the filing of charges in relation to the murder of Mactal. (Manny Galvez) 


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