Ex-Cagayan vice gov to face graft, estafa over P6M IRA scam
Former Cagayan vice governor Leonides Fausto is set to face graft and estafa charges for the irregular disbursement of P6.6 million barangay share from the internal revenue allotment (IRA).
In a statement on Friday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said she found probable cause to charge Fausto and two others for estafa and violations of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
Also facing charges are Eulalie Taguiam-Fausto, the assistant vice-president/branch head of the Tuguegarao City branch of Land Bank of the Philippines, and Ricardo Cabacungan, Jr., an executive assistant in the office of the Vice-Governor.
According to the Ombudsman, the respondents were found liable in the irregular disbursement of 206 checks totaling P6,606,324.90 involving the share of the barangays in the 2006-2007 IRA.
The Ombudsman said the illegal disbursements started when Fausto claimed that he can facilitate the immediate release of the barangay’s share from IRA if these barangays would issue checks in his favor.
Ombudsman Morales said “such representation constituted the real and moving cause for the barangay officials to issue blank checks and induce a majority of the barangay officials of the five municipalities to issue blank checks.”
Morales said the scheme divesting the barangays of their IRA was accomplished because of Cabacungan who accomplished the necessary details in the blank checks issued, including their supposed supporting documents, and Taguiam-Fausto, who identified the payees of questioned checks who affixed their signatures at the back portions of the checks and received the amounts.
“All in all, their overt acts essentially contributed in the execution in the grand scheme of divesting the barangays of their funds,” Morales said.
According to Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, public officials are prohibited from causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
The respondents were accused of estafa under Article 315 (Paragraph 3 a) of the Revised Penal Code, or a criminal offense of defrauding another person by inducing another, by means of deceit, to sign any document.
The Ombudsman also found Fausto and the two other respondents guilty of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.
They were meted out with the penalty of dismissal from service, cancellation of civil service eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and barred from taking civil service examinations.
In the event that the dismissal could no longer be enforced because of separation from service, the same shall be converted into a fine equivalent to the respondent’s one-year salary. CDG/rga
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