Negros town treasurer suspended, faces raps for ‘mystery heist’
BACOLOD CITY — A former acting municipal treasurer of Isabela town in Negros Occidental was preventively suspended for 60 days after being charged over the loss of about P6.4 million in government funds allegedly stolen inside her house in this city last January.
Nenette Escarda, who last worked as Cashier I of the Provincial Treasurer’s Office, was charged with grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and malversation of public funds.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said Escarda had to be suspended to give due course to a fair and impartial investigation and hearing of her administrative case.
“To avoid embarrassment and/or any untoward incident, you are directed to refrain from entering the premises of the provincial Capitol and any of its offices during the duration of your suspension or from doing such acts that will influence the witnesses and the proceeding,” read the order issued Feb. 21 and released to the media on Thursday, Feb 23.
Lacson ordered Escarda to answer the charges in writing, under oath, with the option to submit additional evidence or that of her witnesses within three days from receipt.
“Failure to file an answer within the above-stated period shall be considered a waiver to submit the same, and the case shall be decided based on available records,” the governor said.
Captain Dax Santillan, chief of the Police Station 6 in Bacolod, said Escarda told them that she brought to her house in Las Palmas Subdivision in Barangay Taculing in Bacolod City government cash and checks which she was going to deposit in the bank.
On Jan. 21, Escarda claimed thieves entered her house through a window and got the money she was supposed to bring to the bank.
The formal charge against Escarda stated that sometime in January, she, “in the performance and taking advantage of her official and administrative functions, with grave abuse of confidence, and without authority from the municipal mayor or the national government, took and removed municipal funds amounting to approximately P2.6 million in cash and P3.8 million in checks from its usual place of safekeeping at the Municipal Treasurer’s Office in Isabela and brought the said funds to her home in Bacolod City.”
Escarda, the charge said, “consented or permitted, through abandonment or negligence to the taking and loss of the abovementioned municipal funds while it was in her unauthorized possession to the damage and prejudice of the Municipality of Isabela, the national government, and public interest.”
Based on the cash examination by the Commission on Audit dated Jan. 31, Escarda also committed the following irregularities in her cash accountability: P6,629,146.18 in collections remained undeposited as of Jan. 20, and P972,000 in cash advances remained unliquidated as of cut-off date.