DAET, Camarines Norte — Daet Mayor Tito Sarion denied the allegation of municipal treasurer Arlyn Aberia, who is likely to face criminal and administrative charges for malversation of public funds, that he borrowed money from her saying that Aberia should present concrete proofs to back her claim.
Sarion also belied Aberia statement that members of the local media here are in his payroll. “There is no truth and basis in it. The records of the municipal government is open to the public and would show that Aberia’s statement is a total lie.”
Aberia, the municipal treasurer of Daet, Camarines Norte, was the subject of a special audit by an Internal Audit Team formed by Sarion on Aug. 31, 2010. The Daet mayor ordered an audit of the Municipal Treasurer’s Office (MTO) after he received reports that several stubs of official receipts and an undetermined amount of cash collections are missing and not deposited to the local government’s depository bank.
Alarmed by the initial findings of the audit team that some 103 stubs of official receipts of the municipal government are missing covering the period Jan. 8 to Aug. 31, 2010, Sarion on Sept. 9 ordered Aberia to answer in writing the audit findings. But instead of an answer, Aberia filed an application for 15-days vacation leave beginning Sept. 9 to Sept. 30, 2010.
On the same day, Sarion through his municipal administrator, Santiago Mella Jr., requested the Commission On Audit (COA) to conduct a special audit of the MTO.
Sarion also issued a recall order to Aberia directing her to report for work to answer the findings of the Internal Audit Team and face the COA special audit.
The Daet local chief executive also denied Aberia’s statements in a radio interview that she was allowed by the mayor to go on leave. “It is not within my power to approve her leave, because it’s the Department of Finance that approves leaves of municipal treasurers.”
The recall order to Aberia remains undelivered as the treasurer, since Sept. 9 could not be located as she has gone into hiding.
Aside from the criminal and administrative sanctions that will be filed against Aberia, she is also facing criminal charges for possible large-scale estafa or violations of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 (BP 22) or the Bouncing Check Law to be filed by 15 private individuals whom Aberia allegedly defrauded with some P5.5 million.
Aberia, according to the 15 individuals, issued 40 personal checks amounting to P5.5 million that bounced because her checking account turned out to be already a “closed account.”
Some of the victims of Aberia said that the treasurer used the name of the Daet mayor to convince them to issue her the checks.
Some employees assigned at the MTO also told Sarion that some of their collections were borrowed by Aberia from them, aside from their personal money that they lent to the treasurer.
Sarion said he is just waiting for the result of the COA special audit before filing the appropriate criminal and administrative charges against the erring municipal treasurer. He has asked COA to speed up the completion of its special audit.
The Daet mayor is also planning to file a libel case against Aberia for besmirching his name and reputation.