By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – The Office of the Ombudsman found a probable cause to charge former Caraga, Davao Oriental mayor William Duma-an and Municipal Treasurer Arnold Samon for graft after finding irregularities in the disbursement of funds worth P1.5 million for the municipality’s founding anniversary celebration in 2011.
The Ombudsman said both respondents violated Section 3(e) of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which defines unlawful acts which constitute corrupt practices such as “causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”
The Ombudsman also found probable cause to charge Samon with three counts of violation of Article 218 of the Revised Penal Code for the failure to render accounts.
It added that the documents obtained by the Ombudsman respondents authorized the disbursement of cash advances for expenses in the founding anniversary without observing pertinent rules required by the Commission on Audit and the Local Government Code in July 2011.
The perusal of the three disbursement vouchers showed that the municipal accountant did not sign the certification that the allotment had been obligated for the purpose indicated and the supporting documents were complete, it said.
Also, it said that Samon signed the certification that only P463,800 was available to fund the activity but Duma-an approved the payment of these disbursements despite the deficiencies.
Duma-an signed the checks with Samon, who failed to make liquidation, as the other signatory and the payee, according to the Ombudsman.
“Respondent Duma-an failed to substantiate his claim that the cash advances were used for their intended purpose,” the Ombudsman said.
The Ombudsman maintained that cash advances “should have not been made for the deficiencies were so blatant.”