Ombudsman suspends 2 Negros execs over cash shortages

By Florence F. Hibionada/ PNS

Two collection officers in Negros Occidental were slapped with administrative penalties and ordered suspended from respective posts without pay.

This, as the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas resolved the earlier charges as filed over the discovery of cash shortages in their respective localities.

Docketed as OMB-V-A-09-0037-B, Norman Uytiepo, Revenue Collection Officer II of the Escalante City Treasurer’s Office was found guilty of less serious dishonesty. As such, Uytiepo whose salary grade is 7, was meted a “medium penalty” of eight months suspension from the service without pay.

Amount involved as per cash examination by the Commission On Audit (COA) and corresponding validation by Ombudsman probers was P110,24.54. Uytiepo has since restituted and refunded the said amount alongside a 30-day suspension also ordered by Escalante Mayor Melecio Yap Jr.

Yet as far as the Ombudsman is concerned, restitution has not cured the crime nor was the 30-day suspension commensurate to the violation committed.

Uytiepo in his defense told Ombudsman investigators that his action “was due to his financial problems as he is the sole breadwinner of his family….had a hard time providing for the needs of his family thus making him susceptible to temptation.”

And with the administrative sanction of 30-day suspension also handed down by the mayor, the matter should be over and done with. The Ombudsman begged to disagree and proceeded with its own Decision.

“The sole issue to be whether substantial evidence exists against respondent to warrant a finding of guilt for an administrative offense,” excerpts of the 8-paged Ombudsman Decision went. “Verily, the evidence at hand supports a finding of guilt for Less Serious Dishonesty.”

Similar fate for Shigried Sanoy, Local Revenue Collection Officer II with salary grade 15 of the Provincial Treasurer’s Office, Province of Negros Occidental.

With cash shortage of P135,885.76, Sanoy was found guilty for simple misconduct and suspended for three months one day without pay.

This, alongside a “stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.”

Sanoy was served with the Ombudsman summons that directed her to submit counter-affidavit and countervailing evidences. However none was heard with the mail returned to the Ombudsman bearing a note that respondent was “AWOL-MOVED OUT.”

“Unmistakably, the facts and evidence on record established that respondent committed Malversation…malversation is inherently a form of misconduct by a public official,” the Ombudsman Decision went.

Docketed as OMB-V-A-09-0363-K, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer I Amy Rose Soler-Rellin penned the Decision, reviewed by Assistant Ombudsman Virginia Palanca Santiago. Recommending the approval was Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol with then Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro approving the Decision.