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Parang natsunami! PH Coast Guard top brass wiped out by Ombudsman suspensions

Dec 6, 2016 @ 10:58

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the preventive suspension of 25 high-ranking officers of the Philippine Coast Guard for their involvement in the anomalous utilization of funds totaling P67.5 million.

Ordered suspended for six months are Vice-Admiral Rodolfo Isorena, Rear Admiral William Melad, Rear Admiral Cecil Chen, Commodores Enrico Efren Evangelista, Jr. and Aaron Reconquista; Commanders John Esplana, William Arquero, Jude Thaddeus Besinga, Roben De Guzman, Angel Lobaton IV, Ferdinand Panganiban, Joselito Quintas, Ivan Roldan, Rommel Supangan, George Ursabia, Jr., Ferdinand Velasco, Wilfred Burgos and Allen Dalangin; Captains Joeven Fabul, Angelito Gil, Ramon Lopez, Christopher Villacorte, Lt. Junior Grade Mark Franklin Lim II, Lt. Mark Larsen Mariano and Accounting Head Rogelio Caguioa.

The suspended officers are facing charges for grave misconduct, serious dishonest and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for the irregularities in cash advances totaling P67,533,289.73 which were used to purchase office supplies and information technology equipment without complying with procurement regulations.

Spurious liquidation documents were also presented indicating respondents’ fraud and misrepresentation. The Ombudsman also took note of the 15 April 2015 Audit Observation Memorandum issued by the Commission on Audit.

“The respondents’ respective positions allow them to wield influence on possible witnesses and to access public records, [and] their continued stay in office may not only prejudice the cases against them but also allow them to commit further acts of malfeasance,” Morales said.

In wake of this, the Ombudsman chief directed Secretary Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation to implement the preventive suspension order.

Under Section 24 of the Ombudsman Act, a preventive suspension may be issued pending an investigation if the evidence of guilt is strong, and (a) the charge against such officer or employee involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty; (b) the charges would warrant removal from the service; or (c) the respondent’s continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him.

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