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Negros Gov. Degamo dismissed over misuse of funds

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Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo has been dismissed for his alleged anomalous use of the province’s budget in 2013.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales gave the dismissal order after finding him guilty of grave misconduct.

Apart from dismissal, Degamo iwas also meted with perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and bar from taking the civil service examination.

Morales ordered the filing of a graft case against Degamo before the Sandiganbayan.

Citing investigation conducted against Degamo, the Ombudsman found the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) enacted on January 2013 the appropriation ordinance but deleted the P10 million intelligence fund which was part of the proposed budget of the governor.

After vetoing the appropriation ordinance without being overridden by the SP, Degamo issued on April 15, 2013 a memorandum directing the release of the P10 million intelligence fund “without further delay” and, the following day, a cash advance for the payment of expenses of different activities related to intelligence operation in the amount of P10 million was released to him.

“This violates the Local Government Code and Government Auditing Code,” said Morales.

The Ombudsman explained the codes “provide that no money shall be paid out of the local treasury except in pursuance of an appropriations ordinance or law.”

“Degamo’s act of insisting for the release of the cash advance despite the apparent absence of the necessary appropriation is thus a clear badge of willful intent to violate the laws and established rules,” ruled the Ombudsman.