TACLOBAN CITY- A former mayor of an impoverished town in Samar was indicted by the Office of the Ombudsman after it found a probable cause for the failure to file and remit on time the mandatory monthly Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) premiums for almost five years.

Indicted for violation of the Government Service Insurance System Act of 1997 or Republic Act 8291 was former mayor Arnold Abalos of San Sebastian, Samar.

Also indicted for violation section 5(c) of RA 8291 were municipal treasurer Virginia Uy and municipal accountant Pepita Mabini.

Section 5(c) of R.A. No. 8291 provides that penal sanctions shall be imposed upon employers who fail to include the payment of contributions in their annual appropriations or otherwise fail to remit or delay the exact amount of monthly contributions.

Abalos, who served as mayor of San Sebastian for nine years that ended on 2013, could not be reached for comment.

Based on the 14-page resolution signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, the three accused were said to have failed to remit the GSIS premiums covering 40 months or from 2008 up to 2012.

The case against the three was filed by former municipal employee Robert Rebosura sometimes in 2012.

Based on the statement of account issued on May 31, 2012 by GSIS, the municipality did not remit the GSIS premiums covering the months of April 2008 to December 2009, May to September 2010, February to July 2011, September to December 2011, and January to April 2012 corresponding to arrears amounting to P6,786,787.84.

The GSIS collection notice dated August 17, 2012 indicate that San Sebastian has outstanding payables amounting to P7,633,236.08. The Office said that the respondents committed repeated failures to timely remit the GSIS remittances when they were due and demandable.

Mayor Antero Gaviola, Sr., then the vice mayor of Abalos, said that he has yet to pay the liabilities incurred by his predecessor to the GSIS.

“I asked before the GSIS for some time before we pay our obligation. However, since I assumed office, we have been paying religiously our premiums before the GSIS,” Gaviola, reached on the phone, said.

Gaviola, who assumed the post as mayor June 30, 2013, said that they are paying over P100,000 for their current obligation with the GSIS. The municipal government has 39 permanent workers and 15 casuals.

He, however, admitted that he feels “bad” that the money that they would eventually pay to the GSIS could better be used for projects and programs that could benefit the town’s more than 8,000 people.

San Sebastian, 60 kms.of Tacloban, is a sixth class town with an annual income of P33 million, P1 million of which is source from its local income with the rest of the amount from its share on internal revenue allotment. (JOEY A. GABIETA)