Ombudsman indicts former Samar mayor | Inquirer News
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Ombudsman indicts former Samar mayor

By: - Correspondent / @joeygabietaINQ
/ 12:06 AM July 07, 2014

Office of the Ombudsman. PHOTO from www.ombudsman.gov.ph

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines —The Office of the Ombudsman has indicted a  former mayor of an impoverished town in Samar province for failing to  file and remit on time the mandatory monthly Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) premiums of 39 regular workers for almost five years.

The antigraft body found probable cause to file charges of violation of  GSIS Act of 1997 or Republic Act No. 8291 against Arnold Abalos, former mayor of San Sebastian town.

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Municipal treasurer Virginia Uy and municipal accountant Pepita Mabini were also indicted for violating section 5(c) of RA 8291.

The provision states that penal sanctions shall be imposed upon employers who fail to include the payment of contributions in their annual appropriations or otherwise fail to remit or delay the exact amount of monthly contributions.

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The Inquirer repeatedly called Abalos through his mobile phone but no one answered.

Abalos was mayor of San Sebastian for nine years. His term ended in 2013.

San Sebastian, 60 kilometers from Tacloban City, is a sixth-class town with an annual income of P33 million. Of the amount, P1 million was sourced from local income while the rest were from its internal revenue allotment.

In 2012, former municipal employee Robert Rebosura filed a complaint against Abalos, Uy and Mabini in the Ombudsman-Visayas.

He said  he and other municipal employees could not apply for GSIS loans because the state-run pension fund informed them that they had not been paying their contributions.

Based on the statement of account issued by the GSIS on May 31, 2012, the municipality did not remit  40 months of GSIS premiums amounting to P6,786,787.84.

The months covered were April 2008 to December 2009, May 2010 to September 2010, February 2011 to July 2011, September 2011 to December 2011, and January 2012 to April 2012.

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The GSIS collection notice dated Aug. 17, 2012, showed that San Sebastian’s outstanding payables reached P7,633,236.08.

Based on the 14-page resolution signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Abalos, Uy and Mabini allegedly failed to remit the GSIS premiums of municipal employees covering 40 months or from 2008 to 2012.

Mayor Antero Gaviola Sr., then  vice mayor of San Sebastian, said he had yet to pay the GSIS liabilities incurred by his predecessor.

“I asked the GSIS for some time to pay our obligation. However, since I assumed office, we have been paying religiously our premiums before the GSIS,” he told the Inquirer over the phone.

Gaviola, who is serving his first term as mayor, said they were paying over P100,000 in current obligation to  the GSIS.

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