A ruling by the Office of the Ombudsman has permanently barred a former city mayor in the province of Bulacan from holding any public office after she was found guilty of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct for mishandling the city’s funds.
This as graft probers discovered that former Meycauayan, Bulacan Mayor Joan Alarilla entered into contracts bereft of public biddings, and that she converted the funds for these projects for her own personal use.
Investigation showed that from July to August 2007, the former official issued a total of 43 checks totalling P4.9 million as payments to LC San Pascual Construction Company and VSP Trading and General Merchandise.
The amount was supposed to fund several projects such as the construction of artesian wells, rehabilitation of basketball courts, upgrading of perimeter fences and roads, procurement of patented school chairs, among others.
But the Ombudsman found out that the checks were instead converted for Alarilla’s alleged personal use.
“The proper procurement process was not followed since there was no public bidding conducted by the city government for these contracts purportedly awarded to LC San Pascual Construction and VSP Trading and General Merchandise,” the Ombudsman’s ruling read in part.
Furthermore, investigation showed that there was no public bidding held before the projects were awarded to the contracts.
In fact, some would-be bidders had executed affidavits attesting that there was public bidding held.
Also, a separate investigation by the Commission on Audit found that “the delivery receipts were not submitted; certificates of inspection and acceptance reports were undated; the items listed in the purchase order were already used/utilized in the implementation of the project at the time of inspection; and the items and/or quantities were either understated or overstated.”
“Respondent Joan Alarilla exhibited a clear intent to violate the law. Clearly, the elements of corruption are present in this case as she allowed the misappropriation of public funds through the falsification of the disbursement vouchers and their supporting documents,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said.
“As City Mayor, she allowed the unlawful taking of public funds through falsification of public documents and abused her authority to the detriment of the interest of the City Government of Meycauayan, Bulacan,” she added.
Aside from perpetual disqualification to hold public office, Alarilla was also slapped with other penalties such as the cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits.