Saturday, August 11, 2018

Kalinga Mayor Suspended For Unauthorized Re-appropriation Of Funds

The mayor of the town of Rizal in Kalinga and two other local officials were suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman after they were found guilty of "simple misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service". The suspension order will be effective for one year.

In the 20-page resolution which was approved on June 26, 2018 by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, mayor Marcelo dela Cruz Jr., municipal accountant Rodelia Busacay, and municipal budget officer Delia Jacob were found guilty of the complaints lodged against them by Frank Wad-asen, Rogelio Lawad, Ponz Anthony Orodio, and Robert Echalar.

According to the Ombudsman, dela Cruz Jr., Busacay, and Jacob violated Article 322 and 344 of RA 7160 thus warranting administrative sanctions. However, the decision also stated that there were no elements of corruption in the case.

Article 322 and 344 of RA 7160 are as follows:

Article 322 - "Reversion of Unexpended Balances of Appropriations, Continuing Appropriations. - Unexpended balances of appropriations authorized in the annual appropriations ordinance shall revert to the unappropriated surplus of the general fund at the end of the fiscal year and shall not thereafter be available for the expenditure except by subsequent enactment. However, appropriations for capital outlays shall continue and remain valid until fully spent, reverted or the project is completed. Reversions of continuing appropriations shall not be allowed unless obligations therefor have been fully paid or otherwise settled.

The balances of continuing appropriations shall be reviewed as part of the annual budget preparation and the sanggunian concerned may approve, upon recommendation of the local chief executive, the reversion of funds no longer needed in connection with the activities funded by said continuing appropriations subject to the provisions of this Section."

Article 344 - "Certification, and Approval of, Vouchers. - No money shall be disbursed unless the local budget officer certifies to the existence of appropriation that has been legally made for the purpose, the local accountant has obligated said appropriation, and the local treasurer certifies to the availability of funds for the purpose. Vouchers and payrolls shall be certified to and approved by the head of the department or office who has administrative control of the fund concerned, as to validity, propriety, and legality of the claim involved. Except in cases of disbursements involving regularly recurring administrative expenses such as payrolls for regular or permanent employees, expenses for light, water, telephone and telegraph services, remittances to government creditor agencies such as GSIS, SSS, LDP, DBP, National Printing Office, Procurement Service of the DBM and others, approval of the disbursement voucher by the local chief executive himself shall be required whenever local funds are disbursed.

In cases of special or trust funds, disbursements shall be approved by the administrator of the fund.

In case of temporary absence or incapacity of the department head or chief of office, the officer next-in-rank shall automatically perform his function and he shall be fully responsible therefor."

Additional readings on the case:
1. Kalinga Town Mayor Suspended for 1 Year
2. Kalinga Mayor, 2 Others Suspended Anew