Antique gov, 6 execs face graft chargesBy Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
ILOILO CITY—Three employees of the Antique provincial government have filed graft charges against Gov. Exequiel Javier and six other provincial officials for not releasing the salary increases of more than 1,000 employees.
In separate complaints filed at the Office of the Ombudsman on Sep. 27, Napoleon Maglantay Jr., Bienvinido Nallos Jr. and Rene Oberio accused Javier of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for stopping the release of the salary increases amounting to P13.7 million, covering six months, in 2010
Also named respondents were Vice Gov. Rosie Dimamay and five board members.
The complainants said the salary differentials were stopped “with evident bad faith, malice and gross inexcusable negligence.”
They also charged the officials with technical malversation for reverting the funds for the salary increases to the general fund.
Javier said the Ombudsman had already suspended action on a related complaint filed earlier because the case was still pending before the courts.
He said he had filed a motion at the Court of Appeals questioning the ruling of a Regional Trial Court (RTC).
The complaint, Javier said, was “political propaganda” hurled by his rivals to divert attention from the plunder case being faced by former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) director Raymundo Roquero, who is running against his son, Rep. Paolo Everardo Javier
Narzal Mallares is a candidate for provincial board member under the Bag-ong Antiqueño coalition, which is challenging Javier and his son, who belong to the ruling Liberal Party (LP) in the 2013 elections.
Mallares has denied malice in the filing of the complaints. “There was already a court decision affirming the position of the employees,” he told the Inquirer.
The complaint followed a class suit filed on March 2 at the Antique RTC by 265 provincial employees, including four board members, against Javier and other board members, questioning the nonrelease of the salary differentials and the budget’s reversion to the general fund.
Javier had said the release was withheld because the province had exceeded the law’s budgetary limit for salaries and bonuses.
The provincial board, which is dominated by supporters of Javier, subsequently passed a resolution and enacted an appropriation ordinance on Nov. 25, 2011, which reverted the amount intended for the salary differentials.
In a 63-page decision promulgated on June 25, Judge Nery Duremdes of the RTC Branch 11, ordered Javier and the board members to “cease and desist” from implementing the board resolution and ordinance.
He also directed the board to enact another ordinance to appropriate P13,703,485.82 for the unpaid salary differentials from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2010, and Javier to approve and implement the ordinance.
The differentials range from P300 to P5,000 per employee, depending on their salary levels
Duremdes said the respondents showed “grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction” and “exercise their executive and legislative powers in an arbitrary and despotic manner.”
Javier said he would appeal the RTC ruling up to the Supreme Court.