Yes, quack investigators and scoundrels abound at the Ombudsman. That’s what they did to Bacolod City Accountant Pioquito Quinones, OIC-Management Service Office Ricardo Dahildahil Jr., Assistant City Tresurer Lilia Ursos, City Budget Officer Luzviminda Treyes, and Project Development Officer Leo Villanueva. They were dismissed effective August 24, 2012, based on a rigged investigation or opus of one unfit to investigate as we shall see later. (to be continued)
Victims of Ombudsman abuse
BY PET MELLIZA/THE BEEKEEPER
PNoy has lots to do to rid the Ombudsman’s office of ruffians and quack investigators despite the forced resignation of Omb. Merceditas Gutierrez April 2011, and the retirement of Virginia Palanca-Santiago who sported the unreal post of “assistant ombudsman” July 17, 2012. Much is yet to be done in his quest for “tuwid na landas”.
Section 8 of RA 6770, empowers the President to remove the Ombudsman’s deputies and special prosecutors. That follows that PNoy is empowered as well to boot out their juniors.
The Constitutions bills the Ombudsman “protector of the people”, that is, it shields them from official shenanigan. It safeguards taxpayers’ money and ENSURES that public officials perform rightly.
However, what we have shows otherwise. The Office of the Ombudsman still remains a bastion of corruption and misfits, good only for bullying lowly functionaries committing minor infractions but too timid in running after big time crooks.
That’s what it did when it let off the hook the ringleaders, those clearly guilty, of the infamous P138M Pavia Housing Scandal and indicted only those with doubtful guilt. It did not literally exonerate then Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas and his cabal; it simply “set aside” charges against them sans condition nor explanation.
In 2009, the Ombudsman, thanks to its scoundrels in the Visayas, dismissed from service Igbaras, Iloilo treasurer Cynthia Cabanero and Accounting 3 clerk Pio Elumba for “serious dishonesty” with accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from public office and forfeiture of benefits.
However, thanks to the reisgnation of Gutierrez, her successor, Conchita Carpio Morales, reversed the decision and reinstatedo the two after two years plus in the cold, which the overweight, potbellied local chief executive implemented grudgingly December 29, 2012 and January 3, 2013. Thanks, too, to Deputy Ombudsman – Visayas, Pelagio Apostol, who put back Palanca-Santiago to her place.
Palanca-Santiago and quack investigator Roderick Blazo, rigged a resolution finding the two guilty administratively, and with probable cause to charge them criminally, for signing the acceptance and inspection report known in COA parlance as “AIR”.
Section 118 of the COA manual mandates the municipal treasurer/general services officer to first sign acceptance of delivered goods prior to the inspection by one duly assigned by the mayor, in the AIR.
In holding their administrative guilty, Palanca-Santiago and her quack investigator invented a rule that only engineers were qualified to sign the AIR, hence, the guilt of the treasurer and accounting clerk who were disqualified.
Palanca-Santiago and her quack investigator parroted the “ghost project” yarn, involving P1 million of road rehabilitation in Igbaras done in April 2004. In their ocular inspection, they found bags of cement, mounds of aggregates, concrete culverts and steel bars for the construction of a drainage canal, which shot down the ghost project theory; the pair still convicted them by jumping to conclusion: the materials were deteriorating, ergo, their guilt for neglect. They forgot that that job was the municipal engineer’s.