DOTr suspends exec, 2 employees over corruption allegations

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Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 5) Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade suspended a department official and two other employees over corruption allegations.

Tugade ordered the suspension of Office of Transportation Cooperatives (OTC) Chairman Emmanuel Virtucio and two employees for failing to liquidate ₱2,729,744.64 in funds for the PUV Modernization Program.

The DOTr said it gave the OTC ₱3.3 million to implement the program on December 15, 2017. However, a Commission on Audit report for 2017 said the OTC released the amount in cash advances: ₱2 million OTC Executive Director Eugene Pabualan, and ₱1.3 million to Finance and Administrative Division Chief and Special Disbursing Officer Wilfredo Clave Jr.

The advances were deposited to their respective personal accounts. After that, Pabualan was able to liquidate only ₱33,000, while Clave liquidated only ₱537,255.36.

"Bakit naman dineposito ang pera sa kanilang personal account? Pera ba nila 'yon? Ipaliwanag nila kung ano ang ginawa sa three million. Kung hindi ay hindi na sila muling makakatungtong sa kanilang opisina," Tugade said in a statement Wednesday.

[Translation: Why did they deposit the money in their personal account? Was that their money? They should explain what they did to the three million, else they won't be able to set foot in their office anymore.]

The COA report also revealed Virtucio had unauthorized travel expenses amounting to ₱200,000, claiming transportation allowances even with a transportation vehicle, as well as miscellaneous expenses for clothing, among other irregularities.

The OTC was also found to have used cash advances amounting to ₱85,000 which bypassed standard procurement procedures.

Tugade said they will look into the officials' actions.

"Alam mo it is appalling how government officials show blatant disregard of the laws. Sinabi na ng Pangulo [The President had said], not even a whiff of corruption. Pasensyahan na lang tayo [It's just the way the law works]," he said.