• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Former Isabela municipal treasurer Nenette Escarda has sought the help of Civil Service Commission to review the decision of the provincial government of Negros Occidental on her dismissal from government service.
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson ordered the dismissal of Escarda from government service for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and malversation of public funds, in connection with the unauthorized removal of P2.6 million in cash and P3.8 million in checks.
Cesar Beloria Jr., counsel of Escarda, yesterday said that his client opted not to file a motion for reconsideration on the decision of Gov. Lacson, stressing that it will be the Civil Service Commission which will decide on the matter.
While there was admission on the part of his client regarding the missing cash and checks, Beloria said that Escarda and her family are now raising funds to compensate the lost money, to show good faith and that she has no ill intent.
Escarda claimed that the money and checks may have been stolen from her residence in Bacolod City.
Whether or not she will win her appeal, Beloria said his client vowed to return the money that had been lost.
As for the missing checks, Beloria explained that the Land Bank had already been informed by his client, so that it cannot be encashed.
With regards to the P972,000 in cash advances that were discovered by the Commission on Audit to be unliquidated, Beloria clarified that the amount was intended as financial aid to victims of Typhoon Odette in Isabela, and was utilized by the mayor’s office of Isabela, and not used by his client for personal reasons.
Since the incident involves the missing government funds, Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Alberto Nellas Jr. said “it will be the municipal government who will now file whatever appropriate criminal charges” against Escarda.
Isabela Mayor Irene Montilla earlier said that the municipal government is planning to file criminal charges against Escarda, stressing that “is the only way she will be held liable and accountable for all the cash and checks that had gone missing while she was in possession of them.”
Beloria said it is the prerogative of the municipal government to pursue criminal charges against his client, who is ready to face it.*