The Office of the Ombudsman has affirmed the indictment of former Milagros, Masbate mayor (now vice mayor) Natividad Isabel Magbalon for withholding the representation and transportation allowance (RATA) allotted for the Office of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (OMSWD) in 2013, in violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).
Investigation revealed that Magbalon issued a memorandum in January 2013 designating an officer-in-charge (OIC) for the OMSWD in lieu of the duly appointed Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) who was placed on “floating status” on account of purportedly partisan political activities. Thereafter, the OIC started receiving the monthly RATA of P8,000.00 despite the absence of express authority for the purpose.
In affirming the charge, the Ombudsman said that Magbalon’s act was tainted with malice and bad faith because “no proof was adduced to prove such allegation [partisan political activity] nor did she notify complainant of her removal as MSWDO.”
“Contrary to the view advanced by respondents, RATA is attached to the position and not to the person. Clearly, when complainant was put on floating status, she was merely prohibited from performing her actual duties for reasons beyond her control and not of her own volition, but she still holds the position as MSWDO which entitles her to receive RATA,” stated the Resolution.