Local officials from Mindanao face administrative sanctions
19 January 2017
The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the suspension of vice-mayor Bonnie Kali of General Salipada K. Pendatun, Maguindanao, and municipal treasurer Jose Pastor of Talaingod, Davao Del Norte, after they were found administratively liable for misconduct in office.
In two separate Decisions, Kali was found guilty of Simple Neglect of Duty and ordered suspended for one month and one day. His suspension came after investigators uncovered that respondent failed to disclose his other sources of income in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for the years 2004 to 2006; and 2009 to 2012. As it turned out, Kali earned income from inherited farmlands and from a multi-million peso farming business covering 200 hectares with palm oil trees, rice, corn and coconuts.
The Ombudsman was emphatic in its Decision and stated that “pursuant to Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6713, respondent ought to have disclosed his other sources of income in his SALN as it is required that all business interests and financial connections shall be disclosed.”
Meanwhile, Pastor was also found guilty of Simple Neglect of Duty and ordered suspended without pay for three months.
The Commission on Audit found that two checks of the municipality were encashed without the necessary supporting documents. The checks both issued on 07 March 2008 and totaling P311,400.00 were encashed by an accounting clerk who remains at-large, thus, the money remains unaccounted for.
Pastor admitted that he practiced the habit of pre-signing blank checks whenever he was on official business to attend seminars in Davao City.
According to the Ombudsman, “as municipal treasurer, Pastor has the responsibility to ensure that precautionary measures are in place to prevent unissued checks of the municipality from falling to the hands of another, especially if he had pre-signed them.”
In case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondent’s salary for three months. ###