By Ben Rosario
The Commission on Audit (COA) has thumbed down an appeal by a widower to clear his deceased wife of liability over the loss, through robbery, of P1,849,275 in cash that took place at the National Food Authority (NFA)-Cavite Provincial Office in 2008.
In a resolution released recently, the COA-Commission Proper denied a motion for reconsideration filed by Alfredo V. Umbal, on behalf of his deceased wife, Perlita L. Umbal, former cashier of NFA-CFO.
Mrs. Umbal has been blamed by COA for the loss of P1,849,275 of the P3,041,987.50 in cash collections of the office that robbers allegedly took during a break-in at the NFA office on Jul. 14, 2008.
The lady cashier’s husband, Alfredo V. Umbal, filed a motion for reconsideration of the COA decision that was handed down on May 31, 2016.
In his appeal, the petitioner said the COA-CP “erred in appreciating the evidence’ his wife presented in connection with the rules on depositing earnings as provided under the Government Accounting and Auditing Manual.
Mr. Umbal stressed that under the rules, his wife was required to deposit her cash collections daily or on the next banking day.
Citing the GAAM, Umbal said his wife was required to deposit the cash collections the following day and since it was a Friday (July 11), the succeeding banking day was on a Monday (July 14).
He pointed out that since the robbery happened in the early morning of July 14, 2008, his wife should have been “exculpated for the monies taken by the robbers at it was lost before the opening of the next banking day.”
The petitioner said Mrs. Umbal cannot be held liable for the robbery because there is no prohibition in Presidential Decree No. 1445 in depositing collections on the next banking day.
He said the fact that the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) had dismissed the criminal and administrative charges against Mrs. Umbal should have been considered by the COA-CP.
“This Commission finds the arguments devoid of merit,” the three-man COA panel stated.
The COA-CP headed by Chairman Michael Aguinaldo explained that Mrs. Umbal was considered negligent for rtaining cash collections amounting to P1,849,275 which was supposed to be deposited to the Roving Teller on July 11.
The panel pointed out that the cashier was supposed to deposit the amount with the Roving Teller but did not.
However, she could not be held liable for the loss of cash that was collected after the Roving Teller on July 11.
The COA-CP also ignored the defense excuse that the cash collections had not been deposited immediately because “they require extensive accounting processes.”
The panel said previous acts belied her claim, pointing out that she was able to deposit huge amounts of cash collections “despite the application of accounting processes in the handling of collections.”
“Thus, this MR is denied for failure of the movant to raise a new matter or show sufficient ground to justify a reconsideration of the COA decision,” said the COA officials.