THE Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas admonished a village official and a government driver from Cebu City over the unauthorized use of a government vehicle in 2015.
Michael Mernado Jr., graft investigation and prosecution officer, reprimanded Budlaan, Cebu City Barangay Captain Nerissa Antolihao and driver Pablito Baterna for violating the reasonable office rules and regulations.
“It must be emphasized that respondents admitted to have used the vehicle on a holiday without the required trip ticket,” said Mernado in the resolution.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office, which accused the respondents of simple misconduct.
The anti-graft office’s probe body said that a government vehicle, a Toyota Hilux (SKV-429), was spotted in the vicinity of JY Square in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City last June 12, 2015, a holiday.
They verified and learned that the pickup was assigned to Antolihao, with Baterna as the designated driver. The vehicle was used on a holiday without a trip ticket.
Replying to the charges, Antolihao admitted using the vehicle on a holiday but she said that it was used to bring a constituent to the hospital.
Baterna echoed Antolihao’s defense, saying that the vehicle was used on a holiday and without a trip ticket because of a medical emergency.
In the decision, Mernado said the defense given by respondents is “too convenient.”
The ombudsman said the identity of a certain Necitas Gualiza was not established, and there was no proof that the latter sought medical assistance.
“It is incumbent upon them to submit proof substantiating their alibi justifying their lapses. Otherwise, the conduct of respondents is reprehensible and should not be tolerated,” said Mernado.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on May 24, 2017.
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