BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
January 18, 2007, apparatchiks from the Ombudsman strutted at the ground lobby of the Iloilo Provincial Capitol to “inspect” kunu the glass door facing the Iloilo River that the PNP scouts smashed the previous day.
Provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada joined the group led by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro and Assistant Ombudsman for the Visayas Virginia Palanca-Santiago. He sidled up with the latter and muttered on his long standing graft suits against TESDA administrator Augusto Syjuco, Jr. and wife Rep. Judy Syjuco.
Palanca-Santiago begged of Mejorada for patience: her office was handling many cases but assured him his complaints would be resolved “soon”.
The day before, January 17, 2007, a company of battle-armed PNP troops stormed the capitol to flush out Gov. Niel D. Tupas, Sr., and SPs Domingo Oso, Jr. and Cecilia Capadosa who were “fired” from service by Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.
The decision, a work of an idiot, was shot down by the Court of Appeals, first with a TRO that same day of January 17, and later with an injunction.
Ombudsman Gutierrez picked her decision from thin air. According to LWUA administrator Rene Villa, it was drafted by Mark Jalandoni, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, in deference to higher ups who wanted pinned down Tupas for having joined the LP led by PNoy Aquino that bolted from the ruling Lakas-Kampi in 2006, and joined the clamor for Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s resignation for rigging the 2004 elections.
The decision had no basis and a mere offshoot of a reckless investigation on Tupas et al for allegedly holding “ghost seminars” through the league of provincial legislators of W. Visayas.
Other than the three checks worth P90,000 released by Tupas, the complainants did not present proof that the checks were encashed and appropriated for private use. The Ombudsman “investigator” simply accepted the guesswork that no seminar was ever held despite certifications from the hotels that served as venues, and the written admission from the league president who received the checks for the league of provincial legislators.
It was simply an idiotic resolution; one case involved a convention that took place before the May 2004 elections. Its administrative aspect should have been dismissed owing to Tupas’s reelection, but to the contrary, Ombudsman Gutierrez still stacked it against him.
Gutierrez resigned in disgrace on April 2011, while facing an impeachment process in progress. One of her deputies, Mark Jalandoni, stepped down earlier, after receiving from his disciplining authority, the President, an order to answer the complaint that he usurped the function of the Ombudsman.
At the press conference, January 17, 2007, Casimiro and Palanca-Santiago peddled ridiculous pronouncements. We came here, paraphrasing them, to find out among others whether Gov. Tupas et al, were liable for sedition, for resisting “lawful orders”. They promised the local media they were also checking whether the assaulting PNP men “used excessive force”.
Quite smart. A first glance at the two smashed glass doors, the sledgehammer used to break through them that was recovered, and the video footages and still photos on the assault team armed to the teeth and training their assault rifles on terrified civilians, could help even ordinary persons reach the conclusion that indeed excessive force was used.
Tupas, et al, liable for sedition? I couldn’t imagine such idiotic statement faulting the victims instead of vindicating them, could ensue from the mouths of two top guns of the Ombudsman.
Palanca-Santiago retired in July 2012 with full benefits despite administrative charges filed by Rep. Arturo Radaza (LP, Lapu-Lapu) and by Rep. Niel “Jun-Jun” Tupas, Jr. She left sans her report on the Capitol siege.
Casimiro became OIC-Ombudsman after Gutierrez stepped down in 2011, he, too, is yet to render his report on the siege.
Ombudsman-Visayas Primo Miro resolved the P137-million Pavia housing scandal in May 2005 yet. OIC Casimiro, trying to score pogi points from PNoy, approved it on August 20, 2011 finding Rep. Jerry Trenas (LP, Iloilo City), et al, probably guilty criminally and administratively.
The complaints were filed before the 2004 elections yet by the SP probe committee led by Kgd. Raul Gonzalez, Jr., SP Antonio Pesina, and lawyer Romeo Gerochi.
The same date, August 20, 2011, Casimiro, hoping to score pogi points, this time from Sen. Frank Drilon, signed another resolution amending Miro’s findings. He spared Trenas who appeared most guilty and ordered the Ombudsman-Visayas to find probable cause on him.
Ombudsman-Visayas Pelagio Apostol, Jr., a year passed already; the country awaits your verdict. What’s going on?