Caloocan mayor scores win as Ombudsman dismisses Erice-filed cases | Inquirer News

Caloocan mayor scores win as Ombudsman dismisses Erice-filed cases

By: - Reporter / @T2TupasINQ
/ 06:03 PM March 09, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales dismissed the administrative and criminal cases filed against Caloocan City Mayor Enrico Echiverri and three other Caloocan City officials in connection with the alleged non-remittance of more than P38 million in contributions of Caloocan City employees to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

In a 29-page joint resolution dated March 6, 2012, which was released to the media only on Friday, Morales dismissed the complaints against Echiverri, city treasurer Evelina Garma, city budget officer Jesusa Garcia and city accountant Edna Centeno after finding “no substantial evidence to hold respondents either administratively or criminally liable.” She also ordered that the preventive suspension slapped on the officials be lifted.


The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Caloocan Vice-Mayor Edgar R. Erice who alleged that from July 1997 to December 2002 and from January 2007 until Dec. 31, 2010, the premium contributions comprising the personal shares of the employees and Caloocan government shares were not remitted to the GSIS and had remained unpaid as of Dec. 31, 2010. Additionally, the employees’ compensation shares from July 1997 to December 2004 and from January 2007 to December 2010 were not remitted to the GSIS as confirmed by Robert G. Vergara, president and general manager of the GSIS.

GSIS records showed that the total obligation of Caloocan City as of Dec. 31, 2010, amounted to P343,814,739.85 representing principal and interest for the unpaid compulsory premiums.


Despite being informed of the unpaid GSIS obligations, Echiverri, together with city treasurer Evelina M. Garma and city budget officer Jesusa Garcia, allegedly refused to take action on the matter. Because of this inaction, Erice made a formal demand to Echiverri, Garma and city accountant Edna Centeno for the remittance of the personal shares of the employees amounting to P38,042,916.12, the same already deducted from the salaries of the employees of Caloocan City.

In the resolution, the Ombudsman said records showed that Echiverri had “taken steps to ensure the prompt payment of the city’s current premium contributions and to update its remittances to the GSIS.”

But such efforts were hindered by GSIS’ conflicting computations of the city government’s accounts. In an April 4, 2006, letter, the GSIS stated that “as of March 31, 2006, the total compulsory premium arrearages including interests of the city government of Caloocan amounts to P126,506,221.82.” On the other hand, in a June 28, 2006, letter sent by the city treasurer to the GSIS, the city government claimed that “as of March 31, 2006, we have remitted the premiums due from our city employees until December 2003 having a net balance of only P1,504,035.31.”

Still, in a July 17, 2006, letter sent by GSIS, it said Caloocan’s total obligation amounted to P138,295,405.48. Finally, the GSIS’ chief legal counsel sent a final demand in an August 2010 letter for the remittance of the sum of P337,181,809.46.

The resolution stated that determination of the accurate amount of the city’s obligation “was not solely dependent on respondents but, in a large measure, on the institutional and logistical capabilities of the GSIS, which were beyond the control of respondents.”

“Recall that the city was assessed to pay more than P300,000,000 as of December 31, 2010. At the time Echiverri signed the GSIS MOA, however, the city government was liable for only P15,786,039.87 representing the principal and P54,807,170.63 representing interest, for a total of around P70,000,000.”

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TAGS: Caloocan, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Local officials, Ombudsman, Philippines – Metro
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