CEBU CITY - The Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas has ordered the dismissal of Dumanjug Mayor Efren "Gungun" Gica after finding him guilty of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty for tampering with an official receipt to charge government an additional amount.
Gica's political nemesis and former Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia filed the complaint on July 15, 2014 against then-Vice Mayor Gica.
Garcia alleged that Gica deliberately misappropriated and pocketed the amount of P10,000 representing the difference between the amount claimed by the respondent and the actual amount paid at a restaurant during a work-related function.
Gica had been given an allocation for the payment of meals for village officials during the Association of Local Budget Officers (ALBO) seminar held in Cebu City.
"Complainant has sufficiently shown that the dinner during the ALBO seminar cost only P11,435.00. Hence, respondent should have returned the unspent amount of P38,565.00 to the Municipal Treasurer. However, as shown in the Liquidation Report, respondent returned only the amount of P28,565.00 thereby resulting in a deficiency of P10,000.00," the resolution read.
The decision was signed by Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente.
In October 2016, the Visayas Ombudsman suspended Gica for the same case, but the decision was retracted in March this year by the anti-graft agency to give Gica the opportunity to submit his counter-affidavit.
Gica was meted with the penalty of dismissal from service with forfeiture of all benefits, perpetual disqualification to hold public office and cancellation of all civil service eligibilities.
The mayor's legal counsel, lawyer Edgar Gica, said they would exhaust all legal remedies to question the Visayas Ombudsman's decision.
"How can he (Gungun Gica) tamper that if they (Municipal Treasurer) accepted the receipt in the first place?," the lawyer said.
He said he believes the suit is politically motivated.
The embattled mayor has yet to finish his one-year suspension meted by the Visayas Ombudsman in a separate case, after he allegedly led a police raid without a search warrant.