By Czarina Nicole Ong
Talalora, Samar – Mayor Leonilo Costelo was ordered suspended for three months by the Office of the Ombudsman after he was found guilty of simple neglect of duty.
He will likewise face two counts of violation of Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code before the Sandiganbayan.
Costelo’s woes began after the Field Investigation Office of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas discovered that on May 16, 2014, Costelo received P18,159 as cash advance for his travel to attend a forum in Pasay City, and received P370,000 on December 3, 2014 for relief operations during typhoon Ruby.
Both cash advances, however, remained unsettled and unaccounted for.
In his counter-affidavit, Costelo said that the delay was due to “[the] need to reconstruct the documents necessary for liquidation which were either missing or destroyed during the onslaught of typhoon Ruby.”
But the Ombudsman did not buy his argument, and ruled that “respondent’s obligation to liquidate said cash advance [for travel expenses] had already attached even before typhoon Ruby hit the municipality of Talalora on December 6, 2014.”
“Moreover, on the supposition that documents necessary to liquidate the P370,000 cash advance for relief operations were indeed destroyed during the onslaught of typhoon Ruby, it is highly improbable that it took respondent roughly two years to reconstruct the supposed destroyed documents,” the resolution added.