For the third time, barangay Poblacion 2 of Tagbilaran City fired a barangay treasurer for fund mess.
This was learned after the last barangay treasurer, Edgardo Uguis, filed a complaint on February 5 before the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Tagbilaran City regarding his dismissal from office.
His complaint made a reference to a resolution of Sangguniang Barangay of Poblacion 2 calling for his replacement “for gross disobedience to lawful orders, gross neglect of duty and being notoriously undesirable”.
The barangay resolution, approved by the majority of the barangay kagawads, cited willful disobedience to lawful orders as “one of the just causes for termination enumerated in Article 282 of the Labor Code”.
It also cited the Guidelines in the Application of Penalties in Administrative Cases provided in Supreme Court Memorandum Circular No. 30 s 1989 provides that “Pursuant to Resolution No. 89-506, dated July 20, 1989, the Civil Service Commission” prescribes the penalty of dismissal on grave offenses committed on first offense such as dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, and being notoriously undesirable, among others”.
The height of Uguis’ offense was his claim of the loss of P23,000 from the allocation for the barangay’s volleyball tournament that was entrusted to him for safekeeping in the later part of December last year.
The resolution also stated that “a memorandum had been issued to Barangay Treasurer Edgardo Uguis for failure to respond to the instructions of the Punong Barangay to submit reports under the New Government Accounting Systesm (NGAS)”; and that he “disregarded constant instruction to deposit the collections daily to the barangay’s bank account”.
Uguis “reasoned out when prompted to comply on the same advice on January 12, 2018 that he would not comply with the instruction to deposit the proceeds of the barangay from daily transactions to the barangay’s bank account because he was working on the NGAS Report that was already demanded by COA”.
He “was forced to deposit the collections on January 12, 2018 to the barangay’s bank account upon the insistence of the punong barangay, but the punong barangay was surprised that only a portion of the money and not the whole amount of collections was deposited which totally defeated the purpose of safekeeping the money”.
The punong barangay (Allan Ricardo Real) “also ordered Barangay Treasurer Edgardo Uguis on January 12, 2018 to count all the undeposited collections that remained in the latter’s possession and it was evident that the latter was reluctant to present all the cash and when the punong barangay checked the vault, he found out that there were still cash in it which the barangay treasurer did not present for accounting and the cash was in total disarray- -not even compiled as to denominations, clearly manifesting that it was not properly taken care of and was completely unaccounted”.
The total amount of the undeposited collections counted, amounted to P593,670.00 and knowing that the barangay hall is not the safest place to keep huge amount of cash, the barangay treasurer still opted not to deposit such collections which showed that he was not keen on the safety of the money.
“The irresponsible act of the barangay treasurer did not only violate the directive of the barangay office, but also put the barangay funds at risk,” the resolution stated.
Another act attributed to Uguis was when “the barangay had been put to bad light for the barangay treasurer’s refusal to issue an OR/CR to a client for the simple reason that there was no change (sinsiyo) at the time”.
Majority of the members of the sangguniang barangay complained of the barangay treasurer’s habitual disregard of their lawful requests for release of funds in connection to their functions, and that “the barangay treasurer could not agree with the staff and the punong barangay.
“Majority of the sangguniang barangay members cannot afford to sacrifice the barangay of the present predicament as manifested with the series of memos served to the barangay treasurer. The barangay treasurer continued to exhibit arrogance, defiance and disregard of the memos from the punong barangay directing him to correct his lapses and was not cognizant of his duties and responsibilities,” as stated in the resolution.
The punong barangay had lost his trust and confidence on Barangay Treasurer Edgardo Uguis, following his display of arrogance, dishonesty, and being notoriously undesirable.
The resolution also cited the Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act No. 7160), Section 395(e) provides that “[the] barangay treasurer shall:(1) Keep custody of barangay funds and properties, (2) Collect and issue official receipts for taxes, fees, contributions, monies, materials, and all other resources accruing to the barangay treasury and deposit the same in the account of the barangay as provided under Title Five, Book II of this Code; XXX” (4) Submit to the punong barangay a statement covering the actual and estimates of income and expenditures for the preceding and ensuing calendar years, respectively, subject to the provisions of Title Five, Book II of this Code; (5) Render a written accounting report of all barangay funds and property under his custody at the end of each calendar year, and ensure that such report shall be made available to the members of the barangay assembly and other government agencies concerned XXXX”.
It also cited the “Local Government Code of 1991 (Republic Act No. 7160), Section389 (b)(5) provides that “the punong barangay shall, upon approval by a majority of all the members of the sangguniang barangay, appoint or replace the barangay treasurer”.
After Uguis had explained his side before the Sangguniang Barangay during regular sessions about the loss of the P23,000 from the fund for the barangay volleyball tournament, he failed to convince majority of the kagawads that it was without his fault.
The punong barangay sent a memo containing the result of the investigation after Uguis had aired his side, but the treasurer refused to accept it, including other memos.
In the memo, the punong barangay stated that he “regrets to find his (Uguis’) version of the incident as unconvincing to prove a fact he proposed.
“Analyzing Mr. Uguis’ version, it must be a perfect coincidence that the money was lost at such time when he had not checked on it in two prior days. Prior to the revelation of the treasurer, no one among the present set of barangay personnel knew that the vault was defective and that the money was not safe at the time of the occurrence of the alleged theft. It was only the Mr. Uguis and the previous treasurer who had knowledge about it,” according to the punong barangay.
The punong barangay also emphasized that “theft is a planned or premeditated crime and if it was an inside job carried out by persons other than the barangay treasurer, how could then be anyone else among the present set of barangay personnel other than the treasurer plan such crime when all that they knew was that the money could not just be taken that easily with the belief that the vault was working? From this, it can be concluded that the version of the treasurer is a well-woven tale designed to suit his defense”.
In an elaboration, the punong barangay pointed out that “having waited for the office to close before counting the money, being aware that he had not checked on it for two days and having noticed the unusual presence of a one-peso coin near where he placed the money, only indicates that the treasurer does not possess the qualities required of any person qualified for such possession”.
“A treasurer is required to be keen on any warning with regard to the safety of the barangay funds. The normal attitude of a treasurer is to check the money on the first hour of the day that follows right after the period of two days that he had not counted it, adding the alleged unusual notice of a one-peso coin found near where the money was kept at such time he first reached his desk two days after he had not counted the money which was the treasurer’s attempt to insinuate that a person other than him had come close to that area as he said he never had an experience that a one-peso coin had fallen from his pocket or any similar instance that he left a coin in a place that he had been,” according to the punong barangay.
He also found Uguis’ account of the incident doubtful, saying that “his (Uguis’) allegation was self-serving as obviously intended to evade responsibility as to the whereabouts of the money he alleged to have been lost”.
“It is obvious that he took advantage of the possibility that other persons can enter the barangay hall without establishing its direct connection to the loss of the funds which was not simply placed at the doorsteps of the barangay hall but supposedly inside the vault, though it was later found out that it was only placed inside a sling bag in his custody,” according to the punong barangay.
He pointed out that “if his kind of attitude in handling the issue is to be tolerated, then it would become a precedent to allow treasurers to justify their negligence by merely coming up with allegations that the funds entrusted to them had been taken by other persons without establishing such allegation and such is an obvious attempt to pass on the responsibility of safe-guarding the funds to people who do not possess such obligation and responsibility. It is a matter of public policy to prevent the perpetration of this kind of attitude”.
He also said that from the start, he was well aware that his job involves safe-keeping of the barangay funds; and that Uguis had also been aware of the past issues involving his predecessors who had been dragged into alleged unaccounted funds in their custody.
“He also took advantage of the postponement of the volleyball tournament. Obviously, it came as just his afterthought in his attempt to find a justification for the lost funds,” according to the punong barangay.
Uguis clearly lied in claiming that “he already had reservations when told by the secretary that Kag. Ralph Cabagnot had instructed that the money for the tournament be withdrawn at such time he said was way ahead of the schedule of the activity. He said it was on November 24 or November 25 (he could not even so certain of the exact date) that Kag. Ralph Cabagnot asked for P15,000 to be spent for the first wave of preparations for the tournament that involved expenditures. Such amount was needed for the expenditures that were part of the preparation for the tournament”.
It was also noted that Uguis claimed that his thoughts that time, November 24, was that the activity was on December 20 yet, thus causing his reservations. Analyzing this statement leads to a conclusion that his supposed claim of such reservations he felt was only an afterthought now that the blame points to him. It must be noted that at such time when he was told that the money for the tournament had to be withdrawn, the schedule of the tournament was on December 1 and was not yet postponed to December 20.
“How could he had that reservations based on his thought that the tournament was yet about one month when during that time, the tournament was only 5-6 days ahead and not one month later for the fact that the schedule of the tournament known at such time was December 1 and not December 20? The information about the postponement of the tournament was not yet known at that time,” according to the punong barangay,” the punong barangay added.
“Edgardo Uguis stated during the session of the Seventh Sangguniang Barangay on December 20, 2017 that on December 15, he told the secretary that he would go home early and won’t do overtime and returned the key to the main door of the barangay hall to her. But later at around 7 p.m., he remembered that he left his medicine for asthma in his drawer and sent a text message to the secretary asking to borrow the key to the main door of the barangay hall because he had to get his medicine which he had left. But the secretary said she had already left home then. He explained that he did not have a key to the main door and the only key he hadwas the key to where he had put the money.
He added that in the morning the following day, a Saturday, he sent a text message to the secretary, informing her that he would borrow the key to the main door because he would be doing overtime, although his purpose was to get his medicine. HE CATEGORICALLY STATED DURING THE SESSION THAT HE DELIBERATELY TOLD THE SECRETARY THAT HE WOULD BE DOING OVERTIME WORK ALTHOUGH HIS REAL INTENTION WAS TO GET HIS MEDICINE THAT HE LEFT IN HIS DRAWER.
At around 7:30 a.m. that day, he came to the house of the secretary to get the key and proceeded to the barangay hall to get his medicine. Right after, he immediately returned the key, that time, to the secretary’s mother and told her to tell the secretary that he had decided not to do overtime anymore because he had to go somewhere. Then, the secretary allegedly sent him a text message stating that she would be following him, which he interpreted that she must be entering the barangay hall later.
However, it had not been proven that the barangay secretary or anyone else got inside the barangay hall at that time and he never bothered to present any proof to support his insinuation.
While Uguis tried to insinuate that other persons, not him, took the money, he could not point to an exact circumstance or at least an eyewitness to attest to the actual taking of the money to prove his claim that it was stolen.
On this, it was concluded that there was negligence on the part of Uguis.
“The barangay treasurer obviously lied. Since the position of a barangay treasurer requires honesty, such person as Mr. Eduardo Uguis is not fit for it. Having lied in such vital issue besetting the barangay, his dismissal from service is, therefore, the best means to protect the interest of the barangay,” according to the punong barangay.