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Graft raps vs Batangas mayor, exec dismissed

/ 06:00 AM August 16, 2018

Meynardo Sabili

Antigraft prosecutors absolved Lipa City Mayor Meynardo Sabili of criminal liability for ordering the transfer of a city government employee eight years ago.

In a six-page resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed for lack of merit the graft case filed against Sabili and City Administrator Leo Latido by city social welfare and development officer Teresita Pesa.

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“There is no showing that (Pesa) was singled out and that her reassignment was intended to harass or oppress her,” the antigraft body said in a resolution, which was approved by Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera on June 19.

The resolution was received here only last week.

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Criminal and administrative charges were filed against Sabili and Latido for reassigning Pesa to various posts between 2012 and 2013.

The Civil Service Commission, in 2014, declared Pesa’s transfer “irregular,” prompting her to file the complaint.

But as argued by Sabili and Latido, the Ombudsman pointed out that other senior officials in the city government were reassigned “in order to curb and eliminate graft and corruption” after the mayor was sworn into office in 2010.

Pesa, in February 2017, withdrew the complaint and was reinstated to her post with all her salaries, allowances and other benefits given to her.

Pesa herself admitted that her reassignment was “done in a valid exercise of management prerogative and in the exigency of service.”

Suspension stopped

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But in December 2017, the Ombudsman ruled on the administrative case and found Sabili and Latido liable for oppression and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

It suspended the Lipa officials for a year.

Sabili said he received a copy of the Ombdusman’s resolution on the criminal case on the same day last week that the Court of Appeals granted his petition for a 60-day temporary restraining order against his suspension. —Reports from Maricar Cinco and Marlon Ramos

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TAGS: graft case, Leo Latido, Meynardo Sabili, Office of the Ombudsman, Teresita Pesa
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