Councilor says no travel ban without criminal charges

Kidapawan City councilor Narry Amador told the session Monday that  “unless graft charges are filed against those employees, we have no right to ban them from traveling abroad.”During the session, Councilor Roberto Omandac proposed that a hold departure order  be issued against Jane Isla, former administrative assistant III at the City Accounting Office; Alma Camoro-Pacquiat, also from the City Accounting Office; and Susan Juguilon, treasurer of the Barangay Poblacion so they could shed light on the alleged fund mess.

“Reliable sources told us that these three individuals are planning to work abroad so they could avoid any court litigation as regards the case,” said Omandac.

In fact, sources said that Juguilon, including her family, have been out of town since May, a few weeks after the fund mess was discovered and issues regarding it were tackled by the media.

“But how can we oblige them to appear in one of our legislative hearings if there’s no order to ban their travel?” asked Omandac.

The Sangguniang Panglungsod sits as quasi-judicial body, which is tasked to probe the administrative charges filed against Barangay Chair Joseph Biongan and eight  village councilors – all tagged to be behind the scam.   The pre-trial conference of the administrative charges started last September 4.

It was the City Mayor’s Office, through its legal counsel, Prosecutor Al Calica, that filed a complaint for alleged negligence of duty, dereliction of duty, dishonesty, and loyalty to the Republic of the Philippines against the village officials.

Last week, Prosecutor Calica presented 68 of the 93 questionable checks at the pre-trial conference of the SP.   Many of the checks had no disbursement vouchers; some had altered vouchers; and the rest were pre-signed blank checks.

“If these employees remain in hiding, how can we achieve a just resolution on this case?  We want justice here,” said Omandac.

To pressure the three former employees from not leaving the country, Amador suggested that criminal charges be filed sooner against them, “and that we’ll ask the court to increase the bail bond for their temporary liberty.”

“But as to request the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) to include them in the watch list, that is next to impossible,” said Amador.

There are three requirements before an individual can be included in the BID’s watch list: he/she must be a threat to national security, public health, and public safety.

“From the looks of it, there is no reason that we put these three individuals under BID’s watch list.  That is hampering their freedom.  That, in itself, is a violation of their rights,” stressed Omandac. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)