By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – “I was made a scapegoat.”
This is the statement of Hermigildo Basilio, a provincial government employee assigned to the Provincial Agriculturist Office who was dismissed over the missing sacks of fertilizer worth P2.3 million.
In a statement to Daily Guardian Monday, Basilio said “I strongly decry my dismissal from service for grave charges without any evidentiary support.”
He further said that he has thoroughly explained his side through a letter in answer to the show cause order issued against him by the Provincial Legal Office.
Basilio said he has attached documentary evidence to his answer that was made under oath.
He added that his answer also included the names of the persons who should have been included in the investigation “if such was made to uncover the truth.”
“I already provided proof that I was no longer in charge of the Rice Processing Center in Barangay Tabunan, Bago City for more than a year already at that time the 789 bags of fertilizer allegedly went missing.”
He also said that he does have the keys to the RPC warehouse.
“I only followed the instruction of my division chief Mr. Arnel ‘Potchie’ Taba, head of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, to facilitate the receiving of the 1,920 bags of fertilizer from Juantong Agri-Ventures around 2 p.m. of July 4, 2022,” Basilio pointed out.
He further said that “the (sacks of) fertilizer were completely unloaded to the warehouse and were acknowledged by the watchman/guard on duty and was recorded in his logbook.”
“For me to be made a scapegoat and dismissed after a decade of loyal service to the provincial government due to 789 bags of fertilizer that allegedly went missing on October 18, 2022 is simply devastating to me and my family and shows that injustice prevails in the halls of the provincial capitol,” Basilio added.
He stressed that “I am now left with no recourse but to appeal my dismissal before an impartial authority.”
Earlier PLO head, Atty. Alberto Nellas Jr. said that Governor Eugenio Lacson approved the dismissal of Basilio following the disappearance of the 789 bags of fertilizer worth P2.3 million from the Rice Processing Center in Brgy. Tabunan, Bago City.
Basilio was sacked for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, and malversation of public funds or property. It took effect on August 14, after Basilio received the order.
The provincial government had also terminated Joy Cardinal who was also assigned to the Rice Processing Center and later investigated for the missing fertilizer.
Nellas said that an investigation conducted by the Provincial Legal Office showed that Basilio received the delivery of fertilizer at past 9 p.m., without any coordination with the provincial government of Negros Occidental.
“This is highly irregular. It runs counter not only to Civil Service rules but also to OPA Rice Processing Center Operating Manual of 2022,” Nellas pointed out.