Treasurer in ‘mystery heist’ charged and suspended

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson on Thursday issued a 60-day preventive suspension order against former Isabela town treasurer Nenette Escarda after she was charged with grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and malversation of public funds.

Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Alberto Nellas Jr. told reporters in a press conference that the suspension and the charges were decided after an investigation was conducted against Escarda on her involvement in the missing P2.6 million in cash and P3.8 million in checks which Escarda admitted she brought home without authority from the mayor in January 2023.

She later reported that the cash and checks were stolen from her home.

Things got complicated for Escarda after an audit report indicated that more than P900,000 in cash advances remained liquidated beyond the cut-off time and more than P6 million in collections were not deposited.

Escarda was also barred from the provincial capitol grounds.

The suspension took effect Thursday.

Nellas said that Escarda admitted bringing home the town’s funds in her reply to the show cause order issued by the Capitol.

Escarda contended that the person in charge of depositing the cash and checks was preoccupied, so she acted on her own without authority from Isabela Mayor Irene Consunji-Montilla.

Nellas also said that the Provincial Treasurer and Montilla cannot be held liable for Escarda’s actions as the latter admitted to having acted on her own.

Montilla can also file criminal charges against Escarda.

According to Nellas, Escarda was formally charged in Administrative Case No. 23-200 for serious dishonesty, grave misconduct, and malversation of public funds.

Nellas said his office will conduct the hearing.