DAET, Camarines Norte — The municipal mayor of this capital town filed on Thursday, Nov. 11 with the Camarines Norte Provincial Prosecutor’s Office 12 cases of Malversation of Public Funds against the former municipal treasurer Arlyn Aberia, who is charged of appropriating for her personal use some P162,090.00, which she failed to deposit in the trust fund account of the local government unit (LGU).
Sarion in his affidavit complaint said Aberia, who was then the municipal treasurer of Daet, failed to deposit in the account of the LGU the money she collected representing the cash bidders bonds, contractors’ cash bonds, and performance bonds of four contractors and suppliers that participated in biddings conducted by the Daet local government between March and August this year.
The Daet mayor said he uncovered Aberia’s corrupt practices after the contractors complained to him that despite their demands for refund of their cash bonds, they are unable to get their money back.
Sarion said he immediately ordered the refund of the amounts to the contractors, but verification conducted by Elmer C. Nagera, officer-in-charge of the Municipal Treasurer’s Office (MTO) showed that out of the 15 official receipts issued by Aberia, who also received the corresponding cash bonds from the contractors, only three receipts were reflected in the Report of Collection and Deposits (RCD) of the MTO.
“Aberia’s failure to deposit the money she collected from the contractors and suppliers and her continued failure to return the amount despite repeated demands clearly show that she pocketed and illegally used the money,” Sarion said.
Aberia, then municipal treasurer of Daet, 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.
The initial findings of the audit team showed that some 103 stubs of official receipts of the municipal government are missing covering the period Jan. 8 to Aug. 31, 2010.
The Commission on Audit (COA), as requested by Sarion, is conducting its own special audit of transactions of the MTO under Aberia’s tenure as treasurer. COA’s audit is still ongoing as of press time.
The municipal government of Daet is just waiting for the final result of the COA special audit, after which, it will file the pertinent additional criminal cases against Aberia based on the audit findings, Sarion said.
Aside from the 12 criminal cases of Malversation of Public Funds filed by Sarion, Aberia, she is also set to face 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.”
In a related news, Judge Winston S. Racoma of Branch 39 of the Regional Trial Court in Daet, issued on Oct. 7, 2010 a warrant of arrest against Luz I. Romero, a former treasury employee of the Daet MTO, who is facing 13 cases of Malversation Thru Falsification of Public Documents. This crime was committed during the tenure of former mayor now Camarines Norte 2nd District Representative Elmer E. Panotes.
Romero, a reliable source said, is currently hiding in Japan. She and Aberia are related by affinity as Romero’s daughter is the wife of Aberia’s son.
Under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code, Aberia if found guilty of the 12 cases of Malversation of Public Funds, faces life imprisonment and perpetual special disqualification from holding public office.