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Capitol employee loses job over missing fertilizer

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The Provincial Legal Office has recommended the termination of employment of a casual employee assigned at the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, in connection with P2.3 million worth of fertilizers discovered missing at the provincial government warehouse in Brgy. Tabunan, Bago City, Negros Occidental.

Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Alberto Nellas Jr. yesterday said that they have recommended the non-renewal of the job contract of Joy Cardinal, whose term as a casual employee will end June 30.

Cardinal and other OPA employee, Hermenigildo Basilio, were placed under 60-day preventive suspension, and are both facing charges for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and malversation of public funds, over the missing 789 bags of fertilizers worth P2.3 million.

Nellas said that Basilio, a regular employee of OPA, opted to not avail of a formal investigation hearing, after submitting his explanations to the complaints filed against him, due to financial constraints.

Nellas, however, said they will still give him an option to submit a position paper, including evidence, before proceeding to a formal investigation.

According to Nellas, Basilio explained that he was just ordered to receive the fertilizers, and he should not be held accountable.

Since he received it, he will be the accountable officer. There is a presumption and he has to answer for it, the Provincial Legal Officer stressed.

A total of 2,000 bags of fertilizers from the Department of Agriculture were stored at the provincial government warehouse, for distribution to various local government units. Both Basilio and Cardinal were stationed at and in-charge of the warehouse.

Asked if Basilio and Cardinal are “fall guys,” Nellas said “It’s not for me to say. We only resolve the evidence presented.”*

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