Erice to appeal dismissal of raps vs Echiverri
The camp of Caloocan Vice Mayor Edgar Erice will appeal the Ombudsman’s dismissal of the charges he filed against Mayor Enrico Echiverri and three other city officials in July last year.
The charges stemmed from the alleged nonremittance by the mayor, city treasurer Evelina Garma, city budget officer Jesusa Garcia and city accountant Edna Centeno of more than P340 million in city employees’ contributions to the Government Service Insurance System.
Erice’s complaint became the basis for the antigraft body’s issuance of a six-month preventive suspension order against the accused, but this was not served by the Department of the Interior and Local Government after a local court issued a temporary restraining order, and later a writ of preliminary injunction, stopping the same.
In a March 6 resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales dismissed the charges against Echiverri and the three city officials, saying there was no substantial evidence to hold respondents either administratively or criminally liable.”
Morales said Erice had failed to prove that the respondents carried out the act “with manifest corruption” and “clear intent” to violate the law.
In the resolution, the Ombudsman noted that Echiverri has “taken steps to ensure the prompt payment of the city’s current premium contributions and to update its remittances to the GSIS.”
But these efforts were hindered by GSIS’ conflicting computation of the city government’s accounts.
The Ombudsman’s recent resolution was in response to Echiverri’s motion for reconsideration lodged at the antigraft body.
In a phone interview, Erice said he would file an MR as soon as he and his lawyers have discussed the issues they would raise in it in the first place.
He said he would meet with his legal team on Monday.
“We will continue to fight this, of course,” he told the Inquirer.
Among the issues to be discussed in the meeting, he said, was the ground the Ombudsman reportedly cited to junk the charges: that Echiverri could not be held criminally and administratively accountable for liabilities incurred by the city during the term of then Mayor Rey Malonzo.
Erice said the basis for his complaint against Echiverri was not this in the first place, but his alleged failure to respond to the three notices sent by the GSIS for the city government to settle its obligations.
He added that they would also discuss information he had received from sources that Carpio Morales had “ignored the unanimous recommendation” of the investigating prosecutor and assisting and deputy ombudsman that Echiverri be sanctioned.
Under the Rules of Procedure of the antigraft body, the Ombudsman can issue a resolution only after it has passed through these three layers.
Earlier, Joni Gonzales, Erice’s legal counsel, told the Inquirer that they had yet to receive a copy of the resolution, but that they had read the Office of the Ombudsman’s press release on the matter.
He said he expected an official copy of the document on Monday.
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