NegOcc town treasurer faces probe over ‘stolen’ P6.4-M LGU funds

By Nanette Guadalquiver

February 3, 2023, 3:56 pm

BACOLOD CITY – Mayor Irene Montilla of Isabela, Negros Occidental said on Friday she is awaiting the results of the investigation on the town's acting treasurer who lost millions of local government funds to an alleged robbery.

"We are still waiting for the full investigation of the Philippine National Police and the province. We don't know yet what really happened and what are the findings," she told reporters.

Montilla said she has requested the Department of Finance's Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) the termination of the services of Nenette Escarda, 60, due to loss of trust and confidence.

"They found a replacement and we are waiting for the arrival of the one who will replace her," the mayor said.

The BLGF has direct supervision over the treasury offices of the local government units.

Montilla said that based on the audit, the losses were about PHP2.6 million in cash and PHP3.8 million in checks.

These were allegedly stolen in the residence of Escarda at Las Palmas Subdivision, Barangay Taculing in this city on Jan. 21, based on her statement before the Bacolod City Police Office Station 6.

The mayor said that Escarda is neither allowed nor has been given the authority to bring home any municipal property or deposit the town's money to the bank as she issued an order last November, assigning somebody else to do the task because of Escarda's "constant absences".

Montilla said the lost funds included collections from business taxes, real property taxes and community tax certificates, among others.

"It's painful that this happened to us," the mayor added.

Montilla said after the incident, she was able to talk to Escarda on Jan. 27 and met with her together with Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II at the Provincial Capitol here on Jan. 30.

She added that on Jan. 31, Escarda came to the mayor's office as she was directed to turn over the properties of the Municipal Treasurer's Office. (PNA)