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Ombudsman sacks Negros exec anew over fund misuse

/ 10:53 AM December 07, 2017

Governor Roel Degamo of Negros Oriental was ordered dismissed again from service by the Office of the Ombudsman this time over the allegedly anomalous utilization of his province’s 2013 budget.

In a statement on Thursday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of charges against Degamo for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).

It also meted Degamo accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and bar from taking the civil service examination.

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In April 2016, Morales had ordered the dismissal of Degamo and two other local officials for grave misconduct in connection with the disbursement of calamity funds in 2013.

The governor, however, appealed the order, invoking the Aguinaldo doctrine.

Governor Roel Degamo of Negros Oriental was ordered dismissed again from service by the Office of the Ombudsman this time over the allegedly anomalous utilization of his province’s 2013 budget.

In a statement on Thursday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the filing of charges against Degamo for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).

It also meted Degamo accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and bar from taking the civil service examination.

In April 2016, Morales had ordered the dismissal of Degamo and two other local officials for grave misconduct in connection with the disbursement of calamity funds in 2013.

The governor, however, appealed the order, invoking the Aguinaldo doctrine.

The second dismissal order was based on the finding that Degamo allowed the release of a questionable P10 million “intelligence fund” to his office.

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In October 2012, Degamo submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) the proposed budget for 2013, which included an item for intelligence expenses worth P10 million.

The SP enacted the appropriation ordinance in January 2013 but the P10-million intelligence fund was deleted. Degamo protested this and tendered his veto on the “questionable deletion or non-inclusion of the item on confidential/intelligence fund, which veto was not overridden by the SP.”

In April the same year, Degamo issued a memorandum directing the release of the P10 million intelligence fund “without further delay.”

“Records show that the next day, a cash advance for the payment of expenses of different activities related to intelligence operation in the amount of P10 million was released to Governor Degamo,” the Ombudsman statement said.

The Commission on Audit (COA) regional office determined that the “cash advance was made in the absence of an approved appropriation ordinance in violation of Section 305(a) of the Local Government Code and Section 4(1) of the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.”

The Ombudsman then ruled that “as appropriation ordinance no. 1, series of 2013, does not contain any item on confidential/intelligence fund, the release of the cash advance in the amount of P10 million was not supported by the necessary appropriation.”

Morales said this was a violation the Local Government Code and Government Auditing Code.

She explained that the codes “provide that no money shall be paid out of the local treasury except in pursuance of an appropriations ordinance or law. Degamo’s act of insisting for the release of the cash advance despite the apparent absence of the necessary appropriation is thus a clear badge of willful intent to violate the laws and established rules.”           /kga

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TAGS: fund misuse, Governor Roel Degamo, Graft, Negros Oriental, Office of the Ombudsman
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