Ombuds clear ex-councilor of unliquidated cash advance
For lack of probable cause, the Office of the OmbudsmanVisayas has cleared a former councilor of Compostela, Cebu for his alleged failure to liquidate his outstanding cash advance.
Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Maria Bernadeth Andal-Subaan dismissed the criminal complaint filed against Duque Arceo for violation of Article 218 (failure of accountable officer to render accounts) of the Revised Penal Code.
“The Office finds the evidence on record insufficient to conclude that respondent indeed failed to liquidate or render an account within the period required by law,” the resolution reads.
Section 5.1.3 of Commission on Audit Circular No. 97-002 requires the accountable officer to liquidate within 30 days after his return to office the cash advance granted to him for his official local travel expenses.
In their complaint, Field Investigation Office of the Office of the OmbudsmanVisayas alleged Arceo failed to liquidate his outstanding cash advance in the amount of P15,882.
On March 11, 2008, Arceo was granted a cash advance of P16,400 for registration fee and travelling expenses to Manila to attend Philippine Councilors League (PCL) convention. It alleged only P518 was accounted for.
Demand letters were sent to Arceo directing him to settle his unliquidated cash advance, but failed.
In his counter-affidavit, Arceo denied receiving the demand letters and having outstanding cash advance.
After his return to office within the period of 30 days, he claimed he prepared his plane tickets, official receipts and other related documents and transmitted the same to municipal treasurer Lorenzo Almodiel.
With the foregoing facts, Subaan ruled in favor of Arceo.
“The Office is inclined to believe respondent’s sincerity in making full settlement of his cash advances by paying the amount of P15,882. His lack of criminal intent to violate Article 218 of the RPC may be given credence and the criminal complaint against him be accordingly dismissed,” the resolution reads, adding the absence of any proof that demand letters were sent to Arceo creates doubt.