Sacked MGB worker wants agency chief suspended for corruption | Inquirer News

Sacked MGB worker wants agency chief suspended for corruption

SURIGAO CITY, Philippines—An employee of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, who was recently removed from his post, has asked the Ombudsman to suspend MGB chief Leo Jasareno for allegedly committing corrupt practices.

Roger de Dios, whom Jasareno sacked as MGB director for Caraga in May, said the MGB chief should be held liable for making him defy a court order, and then relieving him when he refused to comply.


In a phone interview, Jasareno said he would face the charges, but declined further comment because he has not received a copy of the complaint.

The case stemmed from Jasareno’s order to relieve De Dios on May 14, stripping the latter of all signing authorities—including the authority to issue ore transport permits (OTPs) and mineral ore export permits.


At the center of the case was De Dios’ issuance of OTPs for Nonoc nickel miner Shuley Mine Inc. (SMI), whose mining operation is being opposed by the Privatization Management Office (PMO) but protected by at least two court orders.

As the entity that manages the government’s interest in the Nonoc nickel mines, PMO persuaded the MGB in 2011 to stop Nonoc mining rights owner Pacific Nickel Philippines Inc. (PNPI) from operating. SMI and PNPI signed a four-year contract in 2009 that gave SMI the right to mine, haul and market nickel ores in some 1,400 hectares of PNPI’s 24,000-hectare contract area in Nonoc.

According to the Department of Finance (DOF), PNPI’s parent company Philnico Industrial Corp. (Philnico) still owes PMO some $263.8 million—a figure that is under litigation between PMO and Philnico before a Makati court.

In her letters to Paje, PMO chief Karen Singson indicated that all mining operations in Nonoc should cease, until the issuance of a ruling on the dispute, to avoid further depleting the nickel ores in Nonoc.

This has put MGB in a dilemma because the PNPI-SMI contract had its stamp of approval, and SMI had been mining for over a year prior to PMO’s complaint.

Nonetheless, the bureau issued a cease and desist order against PNPI and SMI in May 2011. In July of that year, however, a regional court in Surigao City sided with PNPI and SMI with an injunction that prevented MGB and PMO from impeding the mining activities in Nonoc.

De Dios entered into the picture when he was appointed to the Caraga regional office in September last year. He replaced Director Alilo Ensomo who had refused to heed the court order by declining to issue SMI with OTPs, and was largely believed to have been transferred by the bureau when it was imminent that the court would cite him for contempt.


Unlike Ensomo, De Dios said he complied with the court order for fear of being cited for contempt, which would carry the penalty of fines and/or imprisonment.

In his complaint, De Dios said he repeatedly sought Jasareno’s guidance on the issuance of OTPs to SMI and received no official response. He said he had his superiors—Jasareno and Paje—informed on all the OTPs issued for the Nonoc miner in a series of memoranda, copies of which were attached to the complaint.

Instead of officially communicating the bureau’s position on the court orders, De Dios alleged that Jasareno would only call him to remind him of PMO’s position on the issue.

On April 23, De Dios said Jasareno called and sent him text messages “commanding me to withhold the issuance of permits in favor of SMI, even while the Writ was still in effect, and in violation thereof.”

“Thus, I asked for instructions in writing so that I could have a basis for my actions, but he refused to provide the same,” de Dios continued.

By their actions, De Dios argued that “Director Jasareno and Ms. Singson wanted me to violate the July 2011 Order and the Writ issued by the Surigao RTC, despite the fact that these orders are validly binding and in full force and effect.”

He said both officials committed “corrupt practice” under Section 3(a) of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”

He also scored them for being indifferent to his plight, pointing out that violating a court order would expose him to legal sanctions. He said Jasareno’s order did not afford him due process, adding that it did not cite any legal basis and his explanation was not sought.

De Dios earlier petitioned the Civil Service Commission to reinstate him and invalidate Jasareno’s relief order.

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TAGS: Government Officials, Leo Jasareno, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Mining and quarrying, News, Nonoc nickel mines, Private Management Office, Regions, Roger de Dios, Shuley Mine Inc., suspension of government officials
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