Negros town treasurer suspended, faces raps for lost funds

Negros town treasurer suspended, faces raps for lost funds

BACOLOD CITY – A provincial government employee, who was previously assigned as acting municipal treasurer of Isabela town in Negros Occidental province has been preventively suspended for 60 days after being charged with administrative offenses over the alleged loss of PHP6.4 million in local funds last month.

Nenette Escarda, a Cashier I at the Provincial Treasurer’s Office, received Thursday the copies of the memorandum order and the formal charge signed by Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson on Feb. 22.

After completing the preliminary investigation on Wednesday, Provincial Legal Officer Alberto Nellas Jr. said his office submitted the report to the governor, who immediately approved the findings and issued the formal charge to Escarda.

In Administrative Case No. 23-002, Escarda has been charged with grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and malversation of public funds.

“Considering that she is under the provincial government, she is under our jurisdiction, we will handle the administrative case but we will coordinate closely with the Municipality of Isabela,” Nellas told reporters.

Lacson directed Escarda to “answer the charge in writing, under oath, with the option to submit additional evidence or that of her witnesses within three days from receipt thereof”, adding that “failure to file an answer within the above-stated period shall be considered a waiver to submit the same and the case shall be decided based on available records”.

The formal charge stated that sometime in January, Escarda, “in the performance and taking advantage of her official and administrative functions, with grave abuse of confidence, and without authority from the municipal mayor (Irene Montilla) or the national government, took and removed municipal funds amounting to approximately PHP2.6 million in cash and PHP3.8 million in checks from its usual place of safekeeping at the Municipal Treasurer’s Office in Isabela and brought the said funds to her home in Bacolod City”.

It added that the respondent “consented or permitted, through abandonment or negligence’ to the taking and loss of the abovementioned municipal funds while it was in her unauthorized possession to the damage and prejudice of the Municipality of Isabela, the national government, and public interest”.

The governor ordered the 60-day prevention suspension of the respondent after the issuance of the formal charge against her.

“In order to avoid embarrassment and/or any untoward incident, you are directed to refrain from entering the premises of the Provincial Capitol and any of its offices during the duration of your suspension or from doing such acts that will influence the witnesses and the proceeding,” Lacson said in the memorandum order.

Before the Provincial Legal Office conducted a preliminary investigation, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II issued a memorandum order dated Feb. 7, requiring Escarda to “explain in writing, comment or submit an affidavit under oath within five days from receipt hereof why no criminal, civil and administrative cases be filed against” her.

Escarda, who resides at Las Palmas Subdivision in this city, reported to the Bacolod City Police Office Station 6 that a robbery incident took place at her house on Jan. 21, where she discovered that several checks and an undetermined amount placed inside a brown envelope were already missing. (PNA)

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