BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
When Atty. Sonnette Daquita assumed as OIC-director of the Ombudsman office in Iloilo City, yours truly offered through this corner my services to train investigators of her office as some of them were non-lawyers and struggling with written English like Roderick Blazo, who I tag in this space “quack investigator”.
Quack Investigator and Virginia Palanca-Santiago, the latter sporting the fictitious title “assistant ombudsman” prior to her retirement last year, rigged their decision in “People’s Graft Watch of Iloilo, Inc. vs Jaime Esmeralda, et al.” The latter were public officials of Igbaras, Iloilo. Esmeralda then was mayor when the complaint was filed in February 2005.
I have written 46-series of pieces on the pair hoping to raise public consciousness as well as within the office of the Ombudsman, that it should wield the vast power in its hands judiciously and not capriciously the way the moral pygmy and embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia did on the Esmeralda case. She convicted them administratively for “serious dishonesty” punishable by dismissal from service with accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification and forfeiture of retirement benefits. Her resolution also recommended charging them criminally before the Sandiganbayan.
Except for Esmeralda who’s administrative liability was exonerated by virtue of his reelection in 2004, the rest were booted out of service August 2009. Luckily, the Ombudsman granted the respondents’ motion for reconsideration and ordered the two dismissed employees reinstated December 2012 and January 2013. In effect, Ombudsman Maria Conchita Carpio Morales trashed Virginia Palanca-Santiago’s resolution, thereby confirming my 46-series exposes branding her and her quack investigator Roderick Blazo misfits in the office.
The reason for having efficient and sharp investigators is obvious: one, is to protect public interests more efficiently and two, avoid miscarriage of justice. The latter simply means, spare the innocent.
After the scandalously rigged decision in the Esmeralda case, Virginia Palanca-Santiago’s name crops up again in OMB-V-A-05-0265-F titled “COA vs Brendo Elegio, et al.”
Another victim of bullying by Virginia Palanca-Santiago approached me and handed me thick wad of records pertaining to the case. A glance at the investigation report by Jane Aquilar, Graft Investigator and Prosecution Officer II, and recommended for approval by Virginia Palanca-Santiago, shows one point: the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has made a short cut.
Luz Treyes, 60, could have retired by now from her past post, as budget officer of Bacolod City. Events, rather, bullies at the office of the Ombudsman overtook her. She was convicted for the offense of “serious dishonesty” and subsequently last year, August 24, 2012, Bacolod mayor Evelio Leonardia, implemented the Ombudsman’s order dismissing her and five other city employees.
Her predicament stems from the complaint filed by Commission on Audit (COA) Viola P. Villlanueva, “regional cluster director”, against five co-terminus employees of the city mayor on June 9, 2005 for falsification. The respondents allegedly tampered a receipt containing the amount of P133.75 which when processed for reimbursement, became “P100,000”.
Treyes’s and fellow department heads, were not named in the original complaint. They were impleaded later and convicted on the ground of “conspiracy.”
Investigator Jane Aguilar found them guilty administratively and prima facie liable criminally. Her recommendations dated March 23, 2007, were swallowed by Director Edgardo Canton, Virginia Palanca-Santiago (OIC-deputy Ombudsman-Visayas then) and approved by Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez.
The resolution smacks of capriciousness and defies sanity. (To be continued)