COA-CAR director suspended without pay

ONE WITH ARREARS RUNS AFTER ARREARS-- Kalinga-Apayao Electric Cooperative (KAELCO) officials were grilled by members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Tabuk City during the latter's session on Monday, first, over the power utility's failure to pay their business taxes in the last two years and afterwards, over its chaotic attempt to collect alleged arrears of consumers. From left: Councilor Martinez Vicente, suspended KAELCO General Manager Corazon Tomas, KAELCO spokesman Leonardo Ecgatan and Councilor Henry Tubban, Jr.** Photo by Estanislao Albano, Jr.

The Office of the Ombudsman rendered a decision suspending Edna T. Tomelden, Director II at the Commission on Audit-CAR, for three months without pay which is immediately executory. Complainant in the case, docketed as OMB-L-A-16-0024, is Salvador G. Liked.
In an interview with the complainant, the case was filed after Tomelden refused to give him information or copies of documents regarding projects in Mountain Province which he thought were either ghost or substandard, or defective in the case of acquisition of equipment or vehicles. He specifically mentioned a supposed Supang-Busa farm-to-market road, purchase of a defective X-ray machine for the Besao District Hospital, defective elevator for the provincial commercial building at Bontoc, Mountain Province, overpricing of vehicles, etc.
Allegedly, when the complainant checked public records, the respondent COA director failed to file his SALNs for several years—in 2004, 2007 and in 2009. So complainant, instead of filing any case regarding those projects, took the easier route of just filing a case for failure to file SALNs.
In her counter-affidavit, Tomelden stated, according to the decision, that “she religiously files her SALN in compliance with existing rules, the COA through its Administrative Sector, monitors compliance of the filing and submission by its officials and employees of their SALNs by issuing memorandum; she never received any memorandum for non-compliance of the law requiring the annual submission of SALN; and she was not privy as to how this Office keeps its SALN records.”
The ruling of the Ombudsman is quite clear and simple. A pertinent portion thereof follows: “The Records Section of this Office, through the officer in charge, declared that there are no available SALNs of respondent for the years 2004, 2007 and 2009 which were on file. Such unavailability of copies of these SALNs in the records of this Office can be construed to mean that she did not file them. Clearly, she violated the above-quoted law. Her explanation that she did not receive any memorandum from her office requiring her to submit the said SALNs is too trivial to be considered. Neither is her assertion that she was not privy as to how this Office keeps the submitted SALNs acceptable. If, indeed, she submitted the subject SALNs with her office, she could have either offered any proof of said submission.”
Thus the suspension without pay.
This writer notified the respondent through her office to give her side on this matter but she failed to contact this publication’s office.** APP

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