Duero Bohol DepEd Officials Under Fire

Ric V Obedencio - Bohol Standard - The row over the prize money of the Duero Central Elementary School (DCES) drum and bugle corps widens as the complainants, who are mostly parents, are still awaiting for the Ombudsman to investigate the mess.

Some 52 parents, whose children composed the DCES Drum and Bugle Corp (DBC) who won in 2007 showdown, signed a petition for the Ombudsman to look into the "mismanagement done by the DCES principal Dr. Lourdes Castillo and organizer Cora Escobal and coach Gina E. Jano."

It will be recalled that DCES DBC won the Alturas sponsored showdown last year pocketing the prize of P51,000 and another P35,000 prize.

DBC organizers agreed that the prizes won't be divided among the 115-strong DBC children-members but instead children will be treated to a tour. The balance will be used to acquire instruments for the DBC, said Castillo in a phone interview Friday.

In their petition, the accuser-parents alleged that DBC organizers including the school principal "failed to present to the parents of the participants an accurate and reasonable financial statement."

They (petitioners) said that the principal presented the financial statement during the Dec. 13, 2007 meeting but this cast "doubts" among the parents.

"The financial statement revealed only P16,000 as the Local Government Unit (of Duero) aid to the DBC for their participation in the Alturas showdown held at Tagbilaran City on Nov. 22, 2007." But the voucher showed P22,000 with PNB check No. 022921 issued on Nov. 22, 2007. And the said financial statement "never included" the total amount collected from the parents of non-participants (children in the DBC), who contributed P50 each parent, the petition claimed.

Castillo denied the allegations, saying that all the money were accounted for and supported by receipts.

Asked as to the Ombudsman case filed against her and other teachers and organizers, she said that the matter has already been addressed. She told this writer to refer the matter to the Department of Education through Ma. Linda Namocatcat.

Jeffrey Torralba, whose son was barred from participating in the DBC tour as their prize, said in an interview yesterday he will make a follow up of the petition at child and women desk of Ombudsman in Manila.

Earlier, Castillo and other teachers were accused of child abuse rap filed before the Bohol Provincial Prosecutors Office (BPPO). Eventually the said case was dismissed.

But complainants Arcadio Aguiman and Jefferson Torralba filed a joint motion for reconsideration, arguing that BPPO relied on the ground that there was a deadline set for the children to submit parents consent to be able to participate in the tour here in Tagbilaran City.