Top E. Samar execs accused of faking budget ordinance
Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Eastern Samar have filed a complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman against acting Gov. Marcelo Ferdinand Picardal and Vice Gov. Jonas Abuda for allegedly falsifying the P1.28-billion budget ordinance for 2018.
In a nine-page complaint on Dec. 8, 2018, and made public over the weekend, the provincial board members accused Picardal and Abuda of the crime of falsification and the administrative offenses of dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Also named respondents were the provincial board secretary, Franklin Robedizo, and Annabelle Echavez, Department of Budget and Management Eastern Visayas regional director.
The complainants were Provincial Board Members Celestino Cabato, Byron Suyot, Karen Alvarez, Anabelle Capito, Jaime Ty, Ma. Caridad Sison-Goteesan, Maximo Zacate and Aldwin Aklao.
No absolute approval
They claimed Picardal, Abuda (who acts as the presiding officer) and Robedizo issued Appropriation Ordinance No. 18-30, series of 2018, without it being signed by the provincial board members in accordance with established procedure.
The respondents allegedly made it appear that the document was a true and accurate copy of the ordinance duly approved by the provincial board in a Jan. 5, 2018, session. This was said to be false, because the board did not give its absolute approval to the ordinance.
The board members said they only approved the budget in principle, on the condition that Picardal submit the lacking documents and requirements for the approval of the 2018 Annual Investment Plan (AIP).
On April 6, 2018, the provincial board decided to withdraw its conditional approval, after it learned about Picardal’s decision to stick to the deficient AIP, which served as the legal basis for the annual budget.
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