Ilocos Norte board urges Laoag city council to conduct own probe on missing funds

LAOAG CITY —- After failing to convince the top local chief executives in this city to take a leave of absence in view of an investigation regarding the multi-million missing funds of the Laoag government, members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP or Provincial Board) passed another resolution on Monday, urging this time the city council to conduct its own investigation.

Sponsored by Provincial Board member Vicentito Lazo along with the committees on laws and good government, Draft Resolution No. 2016-07-005 was unanimously passed on Monday.

According to Lazo, the invitation is meant to know what the Laoag City council has done so far in an effort to locate the missing funds amounting to more or less Php80 million including the absconding of its City Treasurer Elena Asuncion.

By doing so, he said there may be a need to enact a measure to ensure that the same irregularity will not be committed again in the future.

In aid of legislation, it may be recalled that Laoag City Vice Mayor Michael Fariñas and members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod held an executive session recently and invited employees who are directly involved in the treasury.

Among those requested to attend were the cash division employees Bella Santiago, cashier; Lanie ruiz and Mila Quiape, disbursement officers, Karen Nalodo and Fe Cabinyang, liquidators; Tonette Bareng, licensing division chief, Ferdinand Bartolome and Edgar Pascual, city government accountant.

As of this posting, Fariñas said the city government can only do so much until the investigation is completed.

He also acknowledged that some employees at the city treasury may have been negligent of their duties and obligations.

The discovery of the missing amount came after the city government’s accounting office was mandated to submit a yearly accounting report using the Philippine Public Sector Accounting Standards scheme. PNA/