Ombuds asked to probe P9M hazard pay given to Minglanilla brgy officials, employees in 2020

By: Doris C. Bongcac March 22,2022 - 06:52 AM
A photo of the Minglanilla town plaza.

| File photo

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — The Office of the Visayas Ombudsman has been asked to investigate Minglanilla town officials on accusations that they allegedly malversed close to P9 million worth of their people’s money.

Complainant Rolan Alamag, a resident of Barangay Poblacion Ward II, also sought the preventive suspension of their 10 elected officials led by Mayor Elanito Peña pending investigation of their case.

The other respondents in the Ombudsman complaint are Vice Mayor Loben Geonzon, and Councilors Rajiv Enad, Lynette Geonzon, Roy Nacario, Marlo Hedwigo Cañada, Alan Basteda, Jaime Caumeran, Proserfina Fajutrao and Jenny Young.

Alamag filed his complaint-affidavit before the Office of the Visayas Ombudsman last March 8, 2022.

He claimed that town officials allegedly allowed the “irregular disbursement” of close to P9 million worth of funds to pay the COVID-19 hazard fee of officials and employees coming from the 19 barangays.

Alamag used as basis for his complaint the 2020 Audit Observation Report issued by Commission on Audit (COA) which mentioned that “the payment of hazard pay in the total amount of P8, 901, 000.00 to barangay officials and employees who are not considered as personnel of the Municipality or are workers engaged through contract of service (COS)/Job Order (JO) by the Municipality constitutes irregular disbursement, in accordance with DBM Budget Circular No. 2020-1 and Administrative Order No. 26, casting doubt as to the propriety and legality of the disbursement.”

In his complaint, Alamag said, the payment of the hazard is in violation of RA 3019 or the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act and is tantamount grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming of public officers.

COA said in its report that cash advances were made between June 9, 2020 to July 1, 2020 and these was spent on the hazard pay of barangay officials and employees.

State auditors also mentioned that only 12 of the 19 barangays submitted documents to support the disbursement, the reason why their records “does not tally with the total disbursements in the Reports of Checks Issued” leaving a difference of P3,429,000.

Town officials have yet to comment on the filing of the complaint against them.

But they said in the management comment which they sent to COA that hazard pay was released because the recipient barangay officials and employees “were on duty during the pandemic.”

In the management comment, town officials also promised to review the transaction and revisit related government circulars.

COA has directed Minglanilla officials to demand a refund of the hazard pay or they will be issued a disallowance.

/dbs

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TAGS: 2020 Audit Report, Barangay officials, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, COA, hazard pay, Minglanilla, Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas

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