3 DENR execs sued for graft, suspended for 1 year over land survey plans


Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has indicted for graft and suspended for one year without pay three regional officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in connection with the questionable disapproval of the survey plans of some lot owners to give way to the foreshore lease application of another company in 2007.

In a 15-page Review Resolution, Morales upheld the findings of the investigating team of alleged violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act by DENR Regional Director Regidor De Leon, Regional Technical Director for Lands Leonardo Aggabao, Jr. and Engineer III Fernando Clerigo.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Jaime Lazaro, Salvador Osita and Monico Waje, owners of several lots covered by survey plans located in Barangay Bolitoc, Sta. Cruz, Zambales.

In their complaint, they claimed that De Leon, Aggabao Jr. and Clerigo had conspired in canceling their approved survey plans to give way to the application of the DMCI Holdings, Inc. (DMCI).

They also alleged that their application was canceled without the benefit of hearing or inquiry in gross violation of the elementary rule of due process.  They added that the cancellation was irregular as it was made before the scheduled ground survey.

The complainants further stressed that the lots covered by the plans have been classified as alienable and disposable as they are agricultural in nature as evidenced by the certification issued by Juanito David, Officer-in-Charge, Community Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO), Masinloc; Aggabao, Jr. and Juan Fernandez, Jr., Chief, Surveys Division.

They further claimed that the lots covered by the plans have not been eaten by the South China Sea contrary to the findings of the DENR’s Regional Office.

In the Resolution, Morales agreed “that conspiracy among respondents De Leon, Aggabao, Jr. and Clerigo indicating unity of the purpose in accomplishing a criminal design to favor DMCI’s foreshore lease application is gathered from their [acts.]”

She said that the respondents’ manifest partiality and bad faith became very obvious when they arbitrarily cancelled private complainants’ approved survey plans before the scheduled ground verification survey using as bases the January 11, 2008 Memorandum/ Investigation Report of respondents Special Investigator Rowena Magat and Land Management Inspector Joel Dedicatoria and Forest Ranger Dionito Pascual and January 8, 2008 Order of De Leon.

“This is a clear case of putting the cart ahead of the horse,” the resolution said.

“While there is possibility that there might be legal grounds to cancel the same, still, it offers no excuse for the respondents to make legal short cuts and ignore the cardinal requirements of due process),” it added.

In upholding the report of her team, Morales cited Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which stated that “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, and property without due process of law nor shall any person be denied of equal protection of the laws.”

Aside from their indictment, Morales also found De Leon, Aggabao, Jr. and Clerigo guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service as she penalized them with one year suspension without pay.

“The image of the public office is mirrored in the conduct, official and otherwise, of the personnel who work therein,” Morales stressed.

“It cannot be gainsaid that respondents’ conduct clearly violated the norm of public accountability and diminished the faith of the people in the [DENR],” she added.

The criminal and administrative charges filed against Fernandez, Jr., Land Management Office OIC Marife Castillo, David, Magat, Dedicatoria and Pascual, were dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • rjimenez1226

    Hurray to Carpio Morales.

  • tata_boy

    Dapat may kulong at multa ng di pamarisan ang mga ito ng iba.

  • catmanjohn

    What an impressive lady, and I hope President Aquino will guard you like a national treasure. One can hope that Ms. Morales will further correct the graft ridden DENR, for this institution is where the cancer of corruption germinates. Our hats off to you Ms. Morales.

    • kapayapaan_1900

      “one year suspension without pay”, a “consuelo de bobo” penalty too light to ignore!  Who wouldn’t think money flowed in this mafia like prostitution of public record.  This is a crime in the highest order – betrayal of public trust, worst than a perjury committed by a lowly clerk in a municpal court for failure to include a market stall in her S.A.L.N. years ago.  The poor woman was dismissed from the service and her benefits were forfeited.  Life is really unfair!       

  • w33k3nd3r

    How about SM Baguio and their murdering of trees, ma’am Ombudsman?

  • mojo76

    Im from sta cruz zambales and i know money talk there,maraming mining company jan at ang tambakan ng raw material ng mineral para shipping ay jan bolitoc port……. Si mayor may sariling minahan jan hope ma interview din sya……

  • speedstream2

    “The image of the public office is mirrored in the conduct, official and
    otherwise, of the personnel who work therein,” Morales stressed. 

    Now there’s a very timely reminder, one that can’t be repeated enough.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/55XNXOYBNF6BG3EWOM5V4YMWXM Pedro


  • catalansbarce

    Dapat pa imbestigahan ni Ombudsman ang bawat regional office ng
    DENR dahil maraming katiwalian ginawa ang mga Directors ka konsabo
    ang mga opisyales.

  • $19543087

    I love this woman!  I love her dedication to her work & her love to her country. 

    • JuanTamadachi

      well said..

  • regd

    Way to go Ombudsman Morales! The angry mama is cleaning the house!

    • Gerardo Barrica

       Way to go nga, pero ang dami pa djan sa DENR. If you are serious there are hundreds more.

  • regie

    clearly they have given undue advantage in the acquisition of permits and documents. swak na swak sa anti graft and corrupt practices…

  • Mananandata69

    Ok lang yan sa mga suspended offiicials after all they receive naman money from the party whom they favored.Penalty is too light. 

  • ang_dagat

    Maybe some of the sentences seem too light. But it is not a criminal case so she is limited in her powers although in many cases she has also recommended a criminal case.

    Those involved in graft from high up to down low; you are just one text message away from been taken down.

  • 444mangyan888

    another  WOW…!!! for the ombudsman…

  • surigao_miners

    si PAJE ang kasohan nyo! inutil na DENR Secretary yan! 

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