CEBU, Philippines — After his dismissal as mayor of Dumanjug, Efren “Gun-gun” Gica will also be facing three criminal cases.

The Office of the Ombudsman recommended the filing of malversation of public funds, falsification of official documents and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

“Finding probable cause against Efren Guntrano Zozobrado Gica … let the corresponding informations be filed against him in the proper court,” read part of the decision of Deputy Ombudsman to the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente last September.

The document was approved and signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on October 1.

Earlier, the Ombudsman has dismissed Gica for serious dishonesty and grave misconduct for tampering with a restaurant receipt amounting to P11,435 to make it P21,435 in 2014.

Former Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia, the complainant, alleged that Gica obtained a cash advance of P50,000 from the Municipal Treasurer for payment of meals of barangay officials for the Association of Local Budget Officers (ALBO) seminar in Cebu City.

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According to the Ombudsman resolution, Gica made a liquidation report wherein he stated that the total cost of the dinner was P21,435 at a Chinese restaurant.

However, the certified true copy of the original duplicate of the official receipt showed that the actual amount paid to the restaurant was only P11,435.

Garcia contended that Gica willfully “misappropriated and pocketed for his own personal benefit” the amount of P10,000 which represents the difference between the amount claimed by Gica and the actual amount paid in the restaurant.

In Gica’s counter affidavit, he said he cannot be held liable for malversation of public funds since he has no custody or control of the funds or property of the municipal government.

Gica narrated that he signed a blank accountable form then it was a personnel from Dumanjug’s Municipal Accountant’s Office (MAO) who accomplished the liquidation.

He further claimed that his act of signing a blank accountable form is a common practice since the liquidation is entrusted to be done by MAO.

Furthermore, Gica said it was Garcia and his cohorts in the MAO and Municipal Treasurer’s Office (MTO) who fabricated the charges as a retaliatory suit after he filed a complaint against Garcia for usurpation of official functions.

Both Gica and Garcia have yet to issue their statement on the new ruling of the Ombudsman. (FREEMAN)



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