‘Missing’ ex-LTO exec arrested

·2 min read

A FORMER disbursing officer of the Land Transportation Office in Central Visayas (LTO 7) who went missing in 2007 for failing to account for more than P5 million of government funds was arrested by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Cebu Province in Lapu-Lapu City on Tuesday, July 5, 2022.

Marissa Abear Veriña was arrested in Barangay Bangkal, Lapu-Lapu City based on arrest warrants issued against her for 46 separate cases from various Regional Trial Courts in Cebu City, including violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; 10 counts of malversation of public funds and falsification of public documents and other cases with P30,000 bail granted for each case.

In 2007, SunStar Cebu reported that Veriña was accused by her fellow LTO 7 employees of reportedly failing to account for around P5 million of the office’s monthly budget, which covers the salaries and allowances of her fellow employees and operating expenses such as payments for electricity, water and gasoline.

When SunStar Cebu interviewed then LTO 7 director Alex Leyson in 2007, he said he relieved Veriña after she admitted to pocketing the money.

Veriña’s activities also caught the attention of the Commission on Audit (COA), who initiated an investigation on the matter.

The COA’s report became the basis for the filing of cases against her and other LTO officials before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Missing since 2007

According to CIDG, Veriña resigned from her job at the LTO and went into hiding in Shanwi, China but returned to Cebu after several weeks.

Veriña reportedly kept on transferring from Lapu-Lapu City to Minglanilla town in southern Cebu and back to elude the police, they added.

Veriña was eventually arrested by CIDG operatives, along with personnel from the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company and the Cebu City Police Office, based on a warrant of arrest issued against her.

Col. Ireneo Dalogdog, CIDG 7 chief, said they have expanded their operation against wanted persons following the order of their superior, Police Maj. Gen. Eliseo Cruz. (AYB, JKV / TPT)

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