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Ex-Maguindanao town mayor sacked over non-payment of LGU's bank loan

MANILA, Aug. 2 (PNA) -- Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the dismissal from the service of former Matanog, Maguindanao Mayor Hadji Nasser Imam for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty for his failure to exercise due diligence and the required degree of professionalism in handling the financial affairs of the municipality.

Apart from his dismissal from the service, Imam was meted the accessory penalty of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office and bar from taking civil service examinations.

The administrative penalties were based on the findings that Imam was remiss in his duties as local chief executive when in September 2011, the local government unit (LGU) started defaulting on its obligation to pay the PHP30-million infrastructure loan it had taken out from the Philippine Postal Savings Bank, Inc. (PPSBI) in December 2010.

The loan was supposed to fund the construction of a 28-kilometer farm-to-market road project.

Investigation showed that despite repeated demands by the PPSBI for the municipality to pay the accumulated, unpaid monthly amortizations, it was not able to update its loan account with the bank until it ballooned to PHP50,038,922.01, inclusive of interest and penalty charges.

In his defense, Imam invoked good faith and supervening causes considering that the series of typhoons that hit the municipality in 2012 rendered the LGU incapable of meeting its financial obligations.

Imam said that they had to prioritize the rehabilitation and social service needs of its constituents.

However, the Ombudsman found that "there is no documentary evidence to prove that the municipal funds intended to service the loan amortization in 2012 were realigned and disbursed for calamity-related rehabilitation projects."

Records also showed that the default in the loan payments started in September 2011, way before the occurrence of the purported calamities. (PNA)

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