Ex-Cebu town mayor faces raps for unliquidated cash advances

MANILA-- Former Alcoy, Cebu Mayor Nicomedes De los Santos is facing 12 counts of violation of Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) before the Sandiganbayan for unliquidated cash advances.

Delos Santos was also found administratively liable for simple neglect of duty and ordered suspended for one month and one day.

In case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to the respondent's salary for the same period.

The Field Investigation Office (FIO) of the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) presented documents to show that De los Santos failed to liquidate and account for his cash advances issued to him from November 2006 to July 2011 totaling PHP199,624.

According to the list of unliquidated cash advances submitted by the Commission on Audit (COA), Delos Santos received funds to cover expenses for meals, snacks, travel expenses, police operation expenses, intelligence funds, honorarium for referees in a basketball tournament, Lakbay Aral and Aliwan Festival expenses and Suroy-Suroy Sugbu expenses.

"Based on the [COA] guidelines, respondent clearly failed to liquidate within the period required. In fact, he admitted that he only processed his liquidation after he received this complaint. He submitted his liquidation report to COA on April 8, 2016 and refunded three cash advances on April 7, 2016," the Ombudsman said in its resolution.

The Ombudsman added "a prior demand is not required because nowhere in the provision does it require that demand be first made before an accountable officer is held liable for a violation of the crime."

Article 218 of the RPC states that "any public officer, whether in the service or separated by resignation or any other cause, who is required by law or regulation to render account to the Insular Auditor, or to a provincial auditor and who fails to do so for a period of two months after such accounts should be rendered, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum period, or by a fine ranging from 200 to 6,000 pesos, or both."

Source: Philippine News Agency