Monday, November 16, 2009

School head faces 41 counts of graft

insurance ombudsman

The principal of Abra High School and two others have been indicted for graft for failing to remit premium payments made by the school’s employees to the Government Service Insurance System and Home Development Mutual Fund in 2004 and 2005.

The Office of the Ombudsman recommended the prosecution of Abra High School principal Jose Bermudez, cashier Eleanor Ballesta and bookkeeper Estrelita Lumdang.

Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer 1 Raquel Cunanan-Marayag has recommended the filing of cases against them: 41 counts of violation of GSIS Act of 1997 for failure to remit the GSIS premium of complainant Amilcare Panelo; two counts of violation of Section 52(g) of Republic Act 8291 for failure to remit complainant’s GSIS loan amortizations; four counts of violation of Sec. 52(g) of RA 8291 for the delayed remittance to the GSIS of complainant’s loan and 11 counts of violation of Sec. 23 of Presidential Decree 1752 (HDMF or Pag-ibig Fund Charter) for failure to remit complainant’s HDMF premium.

The filing of the charges against the respondents before the Sandiganbayan was approved by Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro.

The Ombudsman junked the claim of Bermudez and Lumdang of any responsibility for the alleged non-remittance of GSIS and HDMF premium and GSIS and HDMF loan amortizations. Both said it was not their duty to remit premium and loan amortizations of Abra High School employees to the GSIS and the HDMF.

Marayag said Bermudez as school principal was responsible for monitoring and supervising all the activities of the school, including administrative matters.

On Lumdang, Marayag said her responsibility was not confined only to recording the school’s financial transactions and safekeeping of its financial records, but also of the financial operations of Abra High School.

“Necessarily included in the financial operations of the school is the collection and payment of the amounts due GSIS and HDMF,” Marayag said.

The Ombudsman likewise rejected the argument of the respondents that the delay was due to the unreliability of GSIS records as the reason for the unpaid premium payments generated from the GSIS Data Base which the complainant used as basis of these complaints.

“If it were true that respondents had been consistently paying and remitting complainant’s GSIS premium, then definitely, they have in their records proofs of remittances thereof. However, respondents did not submit any GSIS receipt and the list of employees covered by the corresponding remittance to disprove the data contained in the GSIS Statement of Service without Premium Payments dated July 29, 2005…,” Marayag said.

Without proof of remittances, Marayag said the data contained in the July 29, 2005 GSIS Statements of Service without Premium Payments stands.