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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, September 8, 2016
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Leonardia suspends
5 employees
BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia has ordered a department head and four city employees placed under preventive suspension for two months pending the formal investigation of their unliquidated cash advances amounting to about P10 million from 2014 to 2015.

City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan yesterday said they have just concluded the investigation on the unliquidated cash advances, so Mayor Leonardia signed the formal charge against the concerned employees.

They are in the stage of formally investigating them on the cash advances that they have availed of and which had not been liquidated for almost two years, he said.

Bayatan said that under COA rules, cash advances should be liquidated within the year it was availed.

They investigated the matter since the money involved runs into millions of pesos, he added.

Bayatan said Mae Cuaycong of the City Planning and Development Office had unliquidated cash advances amounting to P3 million for APEC 2015, which she obtained on April 21, 2015.

He said former Social Services and Development head Pacita Tero had unliquidated cash advances amounting to P84,866 for the Philippine National Games, Manila, obtained on May 21, 2014 and P3.5 million for APEC 2015 (confidential expense) obtained on April 28, 2015.

He noted that Tero had not fully liquidated her previous cash advance amounting to P84,866 when another P3.5 million cash advance was released to her so they are asking her to explain the matter, Bayatan said. Former executive assistant Ma. Fe Trespuentes under the Department of Public Services, has and unliquidated cash advance of P2,041,000 for the 2015 Charter Day Celebration obtained on Nov. 2, 2015, or after the celebration, he said.

Bayatan said Edsel Casilagan had an unliquidated cash advance of P500,000 for the Philippines representation to the Hong Kong International Chinese New Year Celebration on Feb. 15 to 22, 2015 obtained on Feb. 11, 2015, despite a previous cash advance of P11,685 for “Lamesa ni Mayor Seminar” that was not fully liquidated.

City Health Office nursing assistant Diana Besañes had a cash advance of P500,000 for Panaad sa Negros Festival 2015 obtained on April 8, 2015, when a previous advance for the Batang Pinoy Program 2014 for P1 million was liquidated after the prescribed period, he said.

Bayatan said the suspension of Tero, Cuaycong, Casilagan and Tresfuentes started yesterday while that of Besañes starts today.

They can still appeal or question the preventive suspension with the Civil Service Commission, he said.

The Mayor's Office is only entertaining the administrative cases while the filing of the criminal cases will depend on the decision of the mayor. If ever the mayor decides to proceed with the criminal cases they will be filed with the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas, Bayatan said.

Meanwhile, Bayatan said they saw that Victor Emanuel Espino had submitted his liquidation statement for cash advances amounting to P500,000 to the City Accounting Office. So they are giving him the benefit of the doubt that it could be valid. But this is still subject to verification, he said*CGS

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