Leyte town mayor suspended for illegal use of gov’t vehicle

MANILA — The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has ordered the suspension of Matag-ob, Leyte Mayor Agustin Pedrano, Sr. after he was found guilty of simple misconduct.

The suspension for one month and one day came after a probe found that Pedrano used the municipality’s Nissan Urvan without any supporting documents.

On Aug. 26, 2013, members of the Inter-Agency Oplan Red Plate Task Force in Ormoc City apprehended the vehicle driven by administrative aide Ramelito Parac.

On board as passengers were Pedrano, his wife and family.

When asked for a copy of the driver’s trip ticket, the respondents failed to present one.

In his defense, Pedrano claimed that the Urvan was used “because it was the fastest mode of transportation that he could get” and that “it was an emergency situation as he experienced difficulty in breathing.”

In its decision, the Ombudsman reminded public officials that “the proper procedure for official travel using a government vehicle as provided under the COA Circular No. 75-6 is as follows: the personnel must request the use of the vehicle by accomplishing a trip ticket form in two copies, stating the name of the driver, purpose and destination of the travel. The trip ticket must be duly approved by the official authorizing the travel; and one copy of the trip ticket shall be surrendered to the guard on-duty of the motor pool or person-in-charge of the vehicle upon departure; and the other copy to be retained by the driver. Moreover, it is required that the trip ticket authorizing the use of the vehicle should be displayed on the windshield or other conspicuous place on the vehicle.”

In this case, the Ombudsman said, “Pedrano failed to show or establish that their trip was an emergency. No evidence was submitted showing that indeed respondent Pedrano had himself checked by a medical doctor in Ormoc City.”

Parac, the driver, was also found guilty of simple misconduct and suspended for one month and one day.

In case the penalty can no longer be enforced due to separation from the service of the respondents, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to their salary for one month and one day. Perfecto Raymundo/PNA-northboundasia.com