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COA auditors, process server slapped 1-year suspensions without pay for misconduct

THE Commission on Audit has imposed one-year suspensions without pay against two state auditors and a process server assigned in COA Region 8 for abetting fraud and identity theft.

In an en banc ruling, COA Chairperson Gamaliel A. Cordoba and Commissioners Roland Café Pondoc and Mario G. Lipana found the three respondents guilty of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct.

The names of the three were redacted in the seven-page decision but they were described as holding the positions of State Auditor III, State Auditor I, and process server all of COA Region 8.

Based on the investigation conducted by the Fraud Audit and Investigation Office (FAIO), the three helped a former military officer to draw a loan using the name and identity of an Auditing Examiner of the Office of the Provincial Auditor in Eastern Samar.

The victim was alerted of the crime after incurring salary deductions and receiving billings from the Development Bank of the Philippines-Tacloban City branch showing he drew a salary loan amounting to P86,000.

The auditing examiner informed the COA Region 8 director of the anomaly in a letter dated December 23, 2008. The director coordinated with the auditor assigned at DBP to unmask who was behind the fraudulent loan.

According to the DBP auditor, the sum was drawn as a loan but the proceeds did not go to the victim as it was claimed by another person or a bogus loan applicant who was later identified as one Leo B. Quisay, a former member of the Armed Forces.

The case was referred to the FAIO as the DBP auditor pointed out that the bogus applicant did not have access to the victim’s data, indicating connivance by COA personnel.

In its findings, the FAIO, Legal Services Sector identified the three COA Region 8 personnel and secured an admission from Quisay that he took out a loan in the name of the audit examiner using a bogus Postal ID and a barangay clearance which he obtained with the assistance of one of the respondents, a former classmate. He said he received P5,000 as his share.

The three COA Region 8 personnel denied all allegations but waived their chance at a formal hearing.

“The connivance among the respondents to defraud the DBP and this