‘Missing’ Kidapawan cashier triggers CoA probe

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/July 21) – The Commission on Audit (CoA) scrutinized yesterday the financial records left by the “missing” disbursing officer of the city government.

The audit was expected to end today (Saturday).

Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco requested the immediate and thorough check of the records after receiving reports that Darwin Loyola, disbursing officer from the Office of the City Accountant, has left the city on Thursday, allegedly bringing with him considerable cash from the city’s coffers.

Initially, auditors and staff from the City Treasurer’s Office discovered a missing amount of less than a million pesos, for the salary period June 16 to 30.

The amount was intended for the honorarium of 2,500 Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team members, at least 150 teachers under the Special Education Fund and 2,000 job order employees.

Loyola has already withdrawn the money from the Land Bank of the Philippines since last week, the mayor alleged.

Yet, many of the contractual employees have not yet received their pay.

Gantuangco said he was also disturbed that Loyola has engaged in a lending business, where investments had mostly come from city hall employees.

Based on records, the investments for the lending business, which Loyola handled since 2002, have reached P15 million.

“I believed Loyola could no longer account the flow of cash and the capitalization of the financiers for their lending business so he has to leave the city.   It [now] amounted to P15 million since they started the business 10 years ago,” Gantuangco said.

The mayor thought the lending, which caters to most employees of the city hall, is just a “small business,” so he tolerated it.

“I never thought the capitalization has already grown that huge.  When the audit started last Friday, these financiers, mostly city hall employees, came to me and asked how they could possibly withdraw their money,” he said.

Loyola could not be reached for comment. His house at Sandawa Homes Phase 2 here is locked, reports said.

On Friday, Gantuangco ordered the opening of Loyola’s vault in the presence of the CoA auditors, the city’s treasurer and the administrator, and the chairman of Barangay Poblacion.

There was no cash inside the vault, only documents, records, and payroll, according to Gantuangco.

After the audit, the city government is preparing to file criminal and administrative charges against Loyola.

But as to the investors in Loyola’s lending business, Gantuangco said it is their responsibility to locate and recover their money from him. (Malu Cadelina Manar/ MindaNews)