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Estevez

Jaca v People (2013)


Petitioners: Edna Jaca, Alan Gaviola, Eustaquio Cesa
Brion
The petitioners occupied appointive positions in the different divisions of the Cebu City government:
Gaviola - City Administrator
Cesa - the City Treasurer
Bacasmas - Chief Cashier of the Cash Division, which is under the Office of the City Treasurer, and
Jaca - City Accountant
Steps followed in the grant of cash advances to a paymaster in the Cebu City Government:
1. Paymasters request for cash advance and prepare cash vouchers
2. CHIEF CASHIER affixes her initials on Box A of the voucher; forwards to CITY TREASURER
3. CITY TREASURER Affixes signature on Box A
4. Voucher is forwarded to the CITY ACCOUNTANT for processing
5. CITY ACCOUNTANT signs Box B
6. Voucher is returned to the CHIEF CASHIER for preparation of the check
7. CITY TREASURER signs the check
8. CITY ADMINISTRATOR approves the voucher, signs BOX C

City Auditor Ariesga created a team of auditors to conduct a surprise audit accounts by officers assigned at the Cash Division,
Office of the City Treasurer.
Among these was paymaster Rosalina G. BADANA (in charge of paying the salaries of the employees in 8 different departments)
While Badana reported for work in the early morning she immediately left upon learning of the surprise audit and has not
reported for work since.
The audit team reported that Badana incurred a cash shortage of P18M++.
Based on the procedure in the processing of cash advances, the audit team found out that the failure of the petitioners to
observe the rules governing the grant, utilization and liquidation of cash advances under different COA circulers facilitated the
commission of malversation of public funds.
Sandiganbayan - found the petitioners and Bacasmas guilty

Held the petitioners solidarily liable to the Cebu City government for P18,527,137.19.

All elements under Sec 3(e) of RA 3019 were established:


1. Petitioners are all public officials
2. The public officials committed the prohibited acts during the performance of their official duties
3. Undue injury suffered by the government amounted to P18.5M the amount of Badanas accumulated shortage;
4. Petitioners gave unwarranted benefits to Badana, which resulted in undue injury to the government, by illegally allowing her
to obtain cash advances
5. Petitioners acted with gross inexcusable negligence in the performance of their duties.

ISSUE: W/N the petitioners are guilty of violation of RA 3019 Sec 3(e) YES
RATIO:

ALL 3 petitioners put up the defense of GOOD FAITH in affixing their signatures to the disbursement vouchers. They ALL deny
knowledge of Badanas shortages until after the surprise audit was conducted
Cesa (City Treasurer)
He simply adhered to the procedure long
observed prior to his assumption of office
Under LGC, City Treasurers cease to be
an approving authority in the grant of
cash advances.

SC
Under Sec 470 of LGC, the City Treasurer is tasked with the ff duties:
1. to take custody of and exercise proper management of the funds of the LGU
2. take charge of the disbursement of all local government funds and such other
funds the custody of which may be entrusted to him by law or other competent
authority.

Estevez

It is the City Accountant who can approve


or disapprove cash advances or
disbursements.

By certifying that the cash advances were "necessary and lawful and incurred under his
direct supervision," Cesa cannot escape the obligation to determine whether Badana
complied with Section 89 of PD No. 1445 (no cash advance unless for a legally
authorized specific purpose) , EVEN IF the same requirement would have to be
ultimately determined by the City Accountant.
In view of the clear duty of the City Treasurer to exercise proper management of the
funds of the local government, Cesas insistence that he merely followed the
established "procedures and systems" - negated his defense of good faith.

Jaca (City Accountant)


Strict compliance with prior and complete
liquidation of Badanas previous cash
advances is "impractical and unrealistic."
About half of the Cebu City governments
employees are weekly-paid and the rest
are paid at the middle and at the end of
the month (quincena basis)
- Resulted in a situation where, before
she can process the previous cash
advance, another request already comes
in
So to avoid delay in salaries she affixed
his signature on Box B of the
disbursement vouchers, as a ministerial
duty

Gaviola (City Administrator)


He affixed his signature on Box C of the
vouchers because the City Accountant
had earlier certified that Badanas
previous cash advances were liquidated
and accounted for.
The approval of vouchers was a
ministerial act
Invoked Arias v Sandiganbayan:
We would be setting a bad precedent if a
head of office is suddenly swept into a
conspirancy conviction simply because
he did not examine every single detail,
painstakingly trace every single step in a
transaction before affixing his signature
as the final approving authority

SC
Jaca practically admitted having signed BOX B even if she knew that Badanas previous
cash advances had not yet been liquidated, and, that she did not bother to inform the
COA that the accounting tools (index card and subsidiary ledger) did not accurately
monitor cash advances.
Duties of a City Accountant under LGC 474:
1. install and maintain an internal audit system
2. review supporting documents before the preparation of vouchers
3. prepare statements of cash advances, liquidation, salaries, allowances, etc
4. prepare statements of journal vouchers and liquidation of the same
5. post individual disbursements to the subsidiary ledger and index cards; and
6. maintain individual ledgers for officials and employees of the local government unit
pertaining to payrolls and deductions
SC is NOT convinced with her argument that she was merely avoiding any delay in the
payment of salaries of local government employees
As the City Accountant, foremost of her duties is to ensure that the local funds out of
which the salaries of local government employees would be paid are properly
accounted for

SC
The Arias ruling squarely applies where, in the performance of his official duties, the
HEAD of an office is being held to answer for his act of relying on the acts of his
subordinate.
IN THIS CASE:
The petitioners are heads of three INDEPENDENT offices. The offices involved in the
processing of cash advances are technically independent of each other; one office
does not form part of, or is strictly under, another.
Office of the City Treasurer
Office of the City Accountant
Office of the City Adminsitrator
Each has independent functions to perform to ensure that the funds of the local
government are disbursed properly and are well accounted for
SO: Cant rely on Arias v Sandiganbayan
Gaviolas failure to inquire further before affixing his signature despite the absence of
the "particulars of payment" in the disbursement vouchers = NEGLIGENCE
BUT
His additionally affixing his signature despite the lack of supporting documents =
GROSS AND INEXCUSABLE DISREGARD OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS ACT
AS APPROVING AUTHORITY

CONSPIRACY

The petitioners are all heads of their respective offices that perform interdependent functions in the processing of cash
advances.

Their attitude of buck-passing in the face of the irregularities in the voucher (and the absence of supporting documents), and
their indifference to their individual and collective duties to ensure that laws and regulations are observed in the disbursement
of the funds of the local government of Cebu can only lead to a finding of conspiracy of silence and inaction

The separate acts or omissions of all the accused in the present case contributed in the end result of defrauding the
government.
Since each of the accused contributed to attain the end goal, it can be concluded that their acts, taken collectively, satisfactorily
prove the existence of conspiracy among them.