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6 current and former officials charged by Ombudsman for various offenses

/ 06:20 AM June 10, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the filing of criminal charges before the Sandiganbayan against a governor, two incumbent mayors, a former mayor and several others for various offenses.

Agusan del Norte governor Erlpe John Amante was ordered charged with violation of the anti-graft law for allegedly favoring small-scale mining operator SR Metals Inc.

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Amante constantly issued transport permits to SR Metals, the Office of the Ombudsman alleged. The company was allegedly able to transport 672,163 metric tons of nickel ore worth $23.818 million from August 2006 to April 2007.

Also ordered charged along with Amante were Provincial Engineering Office employees Apolinario Yee and Celso Perez, and SR Metals head Jimwell Orpilla.

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Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro also directed the conduct of further investigation of Amante, Caloocan City Vice-Mayor Edgar Erice of SR Metals and several other private individuals to determine their liability for plunder and other crimes.

In another case, Pili, Camarines Sur Mayor Tomas Bongalonta Jr. is facing graft charges for allegedly dismissing municipal accountant Eileen Ceron without legal basis in 2005.

Ceron was earlier suspended for grave misconduct in connection with an estafa case. But after she served her penalty, Bongalonta, instead of reinstating her, dismissed her from office.

“Clearly, the respondent’s act caused undue injury to the complainant because the latter was deprived of her office, salaries and other monetary benefits attached to it during those years that she was arbitrarily dismissed from the service,” the Ombudsman resolution stated.

Meanwhile, Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya Mayor Teodorico Padilla Jr. was ordered charged for allegedly neglecting to liquidate P130,000 in cash advances.

Padilla had advanced the amount for his travel expenses in 2004. The Office of the Ombudsman said he failed to liquidate the money despite demands made by the Commission on Audit.

Former Perez, Quezon Mayor Pepito Reyes was also ordered charged with violation of the anti-graft law for allegedly allowing a new cockpit to operate in his town even though an old cockpit was still existing.

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Reyes’ brother Nestor was granted a permit to operate the cockpit by the town’s Sangguniang Bayan.

But according to Presidential Decree 449, the operation of two cockpits in small towns is prohibited when there is already an existing cockpit.

“In the present case, in the discharge of the functions of respondent Reyes… he gave unwarranted advantage or preference through manifest partiality to his brother…in the operation of the cockpit in their municipality instead of renewing the permit of the previous operator,” the Office of the Ombudsman said.

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TAGS: Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, Crime and Law and Justice, Graft and Corruption, Judiciary, Local authorities, Local Governments, Mining and quarrying
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