Sandigan: Ex-aeronautics school president guilty of unliquidated travel funds
MANILA, Philippines — The Sandiganbayan has ordered the former president of the Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PhilSCA) to return P14,000 worth of travel funds to the school, after failing to show receipts of the cash advance.
In a decision on April 12, the Third Division said that Enerico Sampang is guilty of failure to render accounts, according to Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code.
According to the anti-graft court, Sampang traveled to a resort in Zamboanga del Norte in March 2007, for a three-day executive forum conducted by the Corona Management Center of the Philippines. He was given a cash advance amounting to P14,000 for his traveling expenses.
However, over a year after his Zamboanga trip, the accused has not liquidated his cash advance, prompting state auditors from the Commission on Audit (COA) to send a demand letter informing him of his delinquencies.
“This was in accordance with Section 5.1 of COA Circular No. 97-002, requiring all heads of government instrumentalities to liquidate cash advances, which, in this case, was for official travel, within thirty (30) days after return to permanent official station in the case of local travel,” the decision, penned by Associate Justice Benelito Fernandez, said.
“Two (2) Demand Letters dated December 23, 2011 and November 20,2012, respectively, were also sent to the accused by the COA State Auditors demanding the liquidation of the said amount,” the court added.
After Sampang left PhilSCA in 2009, two other ranking school officials sent him demand letters about the outstanding cash advances. However, the accused claimed that he has already filed the necessary liquidation documents, and the issues was merely an attempt to malign him.
However, Sandiganbayan dismissed these assertions, noting that when the first demand letter from COA came into his office, he was still in control of the school being its president.
“Although the accused insists that he filed the liquidation documents for his traveling expenses and argues that there was a conspiracy in his Office to malign him to make it appear that he did not liquidate the subject amount, this Court is not convinced,” the court said.
“It must be noted that, during the time when the first demand was made by COA, the accused was still the incumbent president of PhiISCA, hence, had direct control and supervision over his subordinates who handled the liquidation documents. If he indeed submitted the necessary liquidation documents to the accounting office, he could have easily requested from the said office or even ordered the accountant to produce the liquidation documents, but he did not,” the court added.
Aside from compensating PhilSCA, Sampang is also ordered to pay a fine of P6,000. He can be imprisoned if he fails to resolve the matter. /jpv
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