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Ombudsman suspends local DENR, PCSO execs accused of grave misconduct

/ 05:50 PM August 20, 2019
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The Office of the Ombudsman. (File photo by NINO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has preventively suspended three local Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) officials in Iloilo and a Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) official in Pangasinan who are facing grave misconduct complaints.

Aside from grave misconduct, Community Officers Bernabe Garnace and Salvador Manglilong Jr. of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in Roxas City and Miag-ao, Iloilo respectively; Municipal Officer Francisco Gallego Jr. of Tubungan in Iloilo were also accused of committing gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

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This was in relation to a reclaimed land lease application (RLLA) from the Auxillary Missionaries of the Assumption, Inc. (AMA) in 1993, which was for three lots amounting to 22,445 square meters in La Paz, Iloilo City.

According to the order signed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires on August 15 but was released to the media on Tuesday, AMA tried to remind Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) Iloilo of its intention to lease the land again for another 25 years.

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This happened in September 1996, more than two years after their previous 25-year contract has already expired.  Then AMA was informed in September 2003 that the renewal has not been decided as there are still pending requirements and unsettled accounts.

Upon prodding from Garnace, AMA paid their dues in 2004 (P162,055) and in 2013.

This was despite Garnace issuing an order denying AMA’s application in 2008, and amid a smaller land area being given to them.  From 24,169 sq m, the area was reduced to 17,646 sq m.

The complainant alleged that Garnace and Gallardo committed the administrative charge when they subdivided the land without any legal justifications.   They supposedly also did not consult DENR officials in trimming AMA’s land area, which may mean that their move can be considered unauthorized.

All three will face a suspension of an undefined date, but only for a maximum of six months, without pay.

On the other hand, the Ombudsman also suspended Pangasinan branch manager officer-in-charge Editha Romero, who was accused of continuing Speedgame Inc.’s Small Town Lottery (STL) operations despite an order from then PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan.

According to the Office, only Romero, and not co-accused Assistant Manager Remeliza Gabuyo, Legal Department’s Anna Liza Inciong, and Manager Leila Galang should be suspended as her stay in office may interfere with the investigations and disposition of the cases against her.

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Romero is also meted an indefinite suspension without pay, but one should not exceed by more than six months.

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TAGS: DENR, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, grave misconduct, Office of the Ombudsman, PCSO, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine news updates
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