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Negros Oriental gov sacked over P10-M intel fund anomaly


Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo was ordered dismissed from the service by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales for anomalies in the utilization of the province’s 2013 budget.

The dismissal order carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and bar from taking the civil service examination.
Degamo will also be indicted before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019).
Investigation showed that in October 2012, Degamo submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) the proposed budget for 2013 which included an item for Intelligence Expenses in the amount of P10 million.
The SP enacted January 15, 2013 the appropriation ordinance but the P10-million intelligence fund was deleted.
In response, Degamo tendered his veto on the “questionable deletion or non-inclusion of the item on confidential/intelligence fund, which veto was not overridden by the SP.”
Degamo on April 15, 2013 issued a memorandum directing the release of the P10-million intelligence fund “without further delay.”
Records showed that the next day, a cash advance for the payment of expenses of different activities related to intelligence operation in the amount of P10 million was released to Degamo.
The Commission on Audit (CoA) Regional Office determined that the “cash advance was made in the absence of an approved appropriation ordinance in violation of Section 305(a) of the Local Government Code and Section 4(1) of the Government Auditing Code of the Philippines.”
The Ombudsman ruled that “as appropriation ordinance no. 1, series of 2013, does not contain any item on confidential/intelligence fund, the release of the cash advance in the amount of P10 million was not supported by the necessary appropriation.”
“This violates the Local Government Code and Government Auditing Code,” stated Ombudsman Morales. She explained that the codes “provide that no money shall be paid out of the local treasury except in pursuance of an appropriations ordinance or law. Degamo’s act of insisting for the release of the cash advance despite the apparent absence of the necessary appropriation is thus a clear badge of willful intent to violate the laws and established rules.”
The Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government was directed to implement the order.
Copies of the decision were also given to the regional offices of the Civil Service Commission, Commission on Elections, CoA and the GSIS.


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