PCSO officer convicted for pocketing lotto prizes
23 March 2017
A division chief of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) was convicted by Branch 224 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City of Malversation of Public Funds under Article 217 of the Revised Penal Code. Angelica Fajardo, Cashier V and designated Officer-in-Charge, Division Chief III of the Prize Payment Division was sentenced to imprisonment ranging from 13 to 19 years with the accessory penalty of perpetual special disqualification. She was also ordered to pay a fine of
Prosecutors from the Ombudsman presented four witnesses from the PCSO who testified during the course of the trial. Witnesses testified that on 13 November 2008, Fajardo misappropriated portions of the
P3,000,000.00 cash advance granted to her for the payment of sweepstakes and lotto low-tier prizes, including Scratch-it prizes.
Assistant General Manager for Finance Betsy Paruginog narrated that she received two letter-complaints in November 2008 regarding the inability of the Prize Payment Division to pay the winning Scratch-it tickets on time and the delay in the replenishment of the Teller and Provincial District Office’s Prize fund.
The PCSO conducted two spot audits, including a cash count, on 13 November 2008 and 08 January 2009. The results of the audit revealed that “after reconciling all the documents, checks, winning tickets, issuances and vouchers against the cash on hand of the accused, Ms. Fajardo, incurred a total cash shortage of
On 13 January 2009, the audit team issued a demand letter to Fajardo requiring her to restitute the missing funds and to explain the shortage. On 27 January 2009, Fajardo submitted a letter “admitting her liability for the shortage of the public funds which she misappropriated and for which she was accountable.” In addition, the accused offered to make a partial payment for her accountability.
According to Presiding Judge Tita Marilyn Payoyo-Villordon, “the prosecution was able to prove that the accused being the OIC-Division Chief III of the Prize and Payment Division actually misappropriated the missing funds and that the accused cannot offer sufficient explanation for the loss of the same.”
“The failure of a public officer to have duly forthcoming any public fund or property with which he is chargeable, upon demand by any duly authorized officer, shall be prima facie evidence that he has put such missing funds or property to personal use,” added Judge Villordon.
Malversation is committed by a public official who has custody or control of public funds by reason of the duties of his office and misappropriates, takes, or through abandonment or negligence, permitted another person to take the funds. ###