The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the three-month suspension of Panglao Mayor Leonila Montero for the unlawful appointment of four losing candidates in the 2013 elections as consultants to the town’s local government unit.
A statement issued Tuesday by the Ombudsman indicated that Montero was found guilty of simple misconduct.
Meanwhile, Montero was ordered charged with violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and four counts of violation of Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code (unlawful appointment) before the Sandiganbayan.
Findings of the Ombudsman pointed out that that in July 2013, Montero appointed four losing candidates in the 2013 elections as consultants with a monthly gross salary of P25,000.
Records showed that Montero hired Noel Homarchuelos as municipal administrator/consultant for administrative services; Danilo Reyes as public information consultant; Apolinar Fudalan as Public Employment Service Office Coordinator/IT consultant; and Fernando Penales as infrastructure/engineering consultant.
“The consultants were hired on a job order basis to serve the mayor without executing any contract of service or issuance of any appointment paper duly reviewed and approved by the Sangguniang Bayan,” the Ombudsman said.
In its Annual Audit Report for 2013, the Commission on Audit determined that the “the payment of their services was effected even without their duly approved accomplishment reports and individual contracts in violation of Section 4(6) of the Government Auditing Code.”
Based on the Ombudsman’s ruling, “the Local Government Code provisions prohibit and disqualify Hormachuelos, Reyes, Fudalan and Penales within one year after such election to be appointed to any public office in the government.”
“Respondent in appointing them to vital positions in the municipality, certainly granted them unwarranted benefits and caused due injury to the government equivalent to the amount of the compensation they received during the time of their temporary disqualification,” stated Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. (R. Tutas)