2 ex-Iloilo execs charged for graft

MANILA -- Two former local executives of a town in Iloilo province are facing charges before the Sandiganbayan for allegedly receiving transportation allowance while at the same time using government service vehicles.

Former Lambunao, Iloilo Mayor Reynor Gonzales and Vice Mayor Cesar Gonzales are being charged for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for receiving transportation allowance (TA) in 2014.

The complaint arose from the 2014 Commission on Audit (COA) Annual Audit Report finding that the two respondents received TA despite being assigned government vehicles for their official use.

In the COA's Notice of Disallowance (ND), Reynor received a total of PHP90,000, while Cesar received PHP83,880 as TA from January to December 2014.

The COA stressed that under the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Circular No. ??2013-103 dated May 15, 2013, those who were assigned or who use government motor transportation shall no longer be entitled to the TA, but only to the commutable [representation allowance] for the month.

Records show that respondents did not deny the receipt of the ND. Despite such receipt, respondent Reynor only partially settled the disallowance in the total amount of P40,400.00 as evidenced by the 21 June 2016 Notice of Settlement of Suspension/Disallowance/Charge and the receipts submitted by respondent Reynor, the Ombudsman resolution said.

To this date, the record is bereft of evidence to show that he had settled the remaining balance. On the other hand, respondent Cesar had not shown any evidence that he had settled or complied with such ND, it added.

The Ombudsman cited the case of Domingo vs. Commission on Audit, where the Supreme Court (SC) declared that the use of government motor vehicle and claim for transportation allowance are mutually exclusive and incompatible.

[B]oth respondents participated in the questioned disbursement in their respective capacities as municipal officers. Without the imprimatur of Reynor, respondent Cesar would not have been able to claim his TA, the Ombudsman added.

Source: Philippine News Agency