MANILA, Philippines—Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the filing of graft charges against Tubay, Agusan del Norte Mayor Sadeka Tomaneng and another town official in connection with the demolition of houses of people who refused to heed the mayor’s alleged demand for them to recant their affidavits on a labor case.
The filing of charges against Tomaneng and municipal engineer Christopher Dagani was recommended by the Ombudsman Mindanao after conducting an initial investigation of the charges.
In the information filed by Elvira Chua, assistant Ombudsman, the Office of the Ombudsman said Tomaneng and Dagani “while in the performance of their official functions, committed the offense in relation to their offices… with the evident bad faith, manifest partiality or through gross inexcusable negligence, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, criminally cause the demolition of the house of Luciano Selades Jr., Luciano Selades Sr. and Johnny Cabalan, without legal or justifiable ground.”
Based on the Ombudsman’s record, Tomaneng could have ordered the demolition of the Selades’ houses and that of Cabalan after the Seladeses failed to “make a recantation of an affidavit pertaining to a labor case.”
Tomaneng and Dagani denied the charges, saying that since 2010, at least five houses had been demolished by the Municipal Engineering Office in the Lungsod Daan relocation site after it was vacated by a mining company in the same year and the land was opened “for occupation to deserving residents of Barangay La Fraternidad.”
They argued that the demolition was carried out to protect the safety of the complainants, especially during the rainy season, because their houses were located very near the concrete culvert and canal built by the municipal government as part of a drainage system.
Also, the houses of the complainants were located beside a creek, they said, which was a perfect breeding place for dengue-carrying mosquitoes. Inquirer Mindanao