Ombudsman files graft raps vs. ex-Surigao del Norte mayor and her daughter

June 3, 2010 8:31 pm 

MANILA, June 3 – The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) on Thursday filed graft charges before the Sandiganbayan against former Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte Mayor Arlencita Navarro and her daughter, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federated Chair Grachel Arlene Navarro.

The Ombudsman, in a 12-page resolution signed and approved by then Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, found probable cause for the crime of graft against the Navarro mother and daughter.

However, due to the death of Arlencita, the case is now rendered moot and academic.

"Wherefore premises considered, finding sufficient evidence to engender a well-founded belief that a violation of Section 3e of Republic Act 3019 was committed and that respondent Grachel Arlene Navarro, SK Federated Chariman, Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte, is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial," the ruling said.

Likewise, the case against municipal treasurer Errie Reyes was dismissed due to lack of probable cause.

The case arose from a complaint filed by barangay captain Arlenito Gonzales of Poblacion, Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte.

Gonzales alleged that the respondents violated Republic Act 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Government Service Insurance System Act.

According to the affidavit sent to the said office by Gonzales, he claimed that SK Chair Navarro frequently was absent from the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) and Barangay sessions from September 2002 to November 2006 and yet, she was able to receive her salary without deductions due to her incurred absences.

Gonzales assumed that it was made possible by the SK chair's mother who then of Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte Mayor Arlencita Navarro.

A complaint was also filed against the municipal treasurer for working as an accomplice to the former mayor.

The two officials also failed to do their duties in terms of releasing the 25 percent share of the Real Property Tax collections that were supposed to go to the 20 barangays in their municipality.

Though the documents that cover the years from 1998 to 2003 were already prepared and processed as well as cheques issued, the latter were cancelled.

Gonzales also alleged that "Mayor Navarro and Reyes failed to pay and remit the GSIS, Philhealth and Pag-IBIG contributions, both personal and government share, loan repayments, as well as the employees compensation contributions from 2001 to 2006", as stated in the document.

In her defense, Reyes submitted her own affidavit stating that, "her mandate is to release the salary of every employee of the Local Government Unit subject to the usual accounting procedures".

She also said that the scope of her duty to release the said salaries since the name of SK Chairman Navarro appeared on the payroll and that there weren't any court order directing her not to release the same.

It was found out that the documents concerning the above allegations were already submitted to the Commissions on Audit (COA).

Reyes has "sufficiently adduced evidence to counter the allegations imputed against her", the document said.

The case against Reyes was dismissed due to lack of sufficient evidence.

For the two Navarros, a counter-affidavit was requested from them through a letter but the letter was returned to the office stating that the former mayor was deceased and that the SK chair was "out of town ".

The SK Secretary of Del Carmen submitted records that revealed that the young Navarro attended just 19 sessions out of 185 sessions from August 2002 to November 2006.

It was noted that the SK chair was able to receive her monthly salary including bonuses for four years without deductions for her absences.

The SK chair was unduly receiving her salary even though she was not performing her duties as a public officer.

She was also alled to have neglected the fact that being an SK chair, she should have set a good model to the youth.

She would be held for trial and the case against her will be further investigated. (PNA) RMA/PTR/utb

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