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Ex-LWUA execs in hot water over excessive expenses.

A total of 1,327 counts of graft and malversation await former officials of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) for having been allegedly reimbursed excessive, extraordinary expenses for supposed meetings, entertainment and public relations activities amounting to nearly P13 million.

The Office of the Ombudsman will charge former LWUA Administrator Lorenzo Jamora with 150 counts of graft and malversation and 32 other executives of LWUA and local water board districts with a combined 1,177 counts in the Sandiganbayan.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the officials illegally charged expenses for meetings, seminars and conferences, official entertainment and public relations in 2006 without presenting official receipts.

She said the expenses were in excess of what was allowed by the Department of Budget and Management.

One of the government-owned and -controlled corporations, LWUA serves as the only lending institution for water districts outside Metropolitan Manila.

Morales said the Commission on Audit (COA) disallowed the LWUA officials' claims for reimbursement ranging from P230,000 to P986,356 each by issuing a notice of disallowance in July 2009.

The COA found that the LWUA officials were reimbursed P12,879,337.77 by merely submitting pro forma certifications of expenses instead of official receipts.

By attesting that the funds were spent on meetings, seminars and conferences, official entertainment and public relations, when in truth and in fact there were no receipts and other supporting documents to prove such expenses, respondents made untruthful statements on a public document to facilitate the misappropriation of public funds, Morales said.

She said the water officials acted with evident bad faith and/or gross inexcusable negligence when they caused and/or participated in the illegal release of funds.

The Ombudsman also found the 33 officials guilty of the administrative offense of dishonesty, grave misconduct and falsification of official documents.

Since they no longer hold office, they were ordered to pay a fine equivalent to one year's salary.

At the same time, they were also perpetually disqualified from holding public office while their retirement benefits were forfeited.

The other LWUA executives who will be charged are Leopoldo Palad, with 263 counts of graft and malversation; Primo Lomibao, 230 counts; Daniel Landingin, 101 counts; Emmanuel Malicdem, 74 counts; Eleanora de Jesus, 63 counts; Lilian Asprer, 54 counts;

Lourdes Perele, 43 counts; Wilfredo Feleo, 41 counts; Julita Corpuz, 36 counts; Aurora Raymundo-Arnaez, 15 counts; Leonard Matti, 15 counts; Francisco Dumpit, seven counts; Eduardo Bangayan, 11 counts; Jesus Copuyoc, 12 counts; Arnaldo Espinas, 12 counts; Almer Zerrudo, 12 counts; Edelwina Parungao, 11 counts;

Manalo Kagahastian, 12 counts; Manuel Yoingco, 13 counts; Alfredo Espino, 12 counts; Rebecca Barbo, 11 counts; Armando Fernandez, 12 counts; Edwin Ruiz, 12 counts; Bernardito de Jesus, 13 counts; Antonio Magtibay, 13 counts; Enrique Gita, 12 counts;

Avelino Castillo, 20 counts; Venus Pozon, 14 counts; Julian Tajolosa, 13 counts; Mario Quitoriano, 10 counts; Hermilo Balucan, nine counts; and Edison Cuenca one count.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jun 24, 2016
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