Ex-Aklan Gov Miraflores, wife escape SALN case due to foot-dragging by Ombudsman
The Sandiganbayan exonerated a former Aklan governor and his former town mayor-wife for violation of Republic Act 6713, or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees”, over their alleged failure to declare properties in their respective Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) in 2006 to 2009.
The anti-graft court’s Second Division, in a resolution dated Nov. 14, 2018, dismissed the four counts of violation of RA 6713 filed against former Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores and his wife, former Ibajay, Aklan Mayor Ma. Lourdes Miraflores, for violation of their constitutional right to speedy disposition of their cases.
In its ruling, the Sandiganbayan said “the instant case involves four counts of violation of RA 6713. Although the case involves, as the prosecution submits, voluminous documents, the foregoing does not involve a very complicated issue which would require more than three years of preliminary investigation, especially given the fact that supporting documents are readily available to it upon request and confined to specific period of their SALNs or from 2006 to 2009.”
“The Court finds that from the time accused Florencio and Lourdes filed their counter-affidavit on 28 July 2015, the office of the Ombudsman spent more than one year and five months before the joint resolution finding probable cause against the accused was approved by the Overall Deputy Ombudsman,” the anti-graft court said.
“Thereafter, the Office of the Ombudsman spent another one year and four months from the time the accused filed their verified motion for reconsideration to resolve the same and file the subject informations in Court. Such period of delay is unjustified considering the foregoing discussions and the provisions of its own rules,” it added.
Court records showed that the preliminary investigation was conducted within three years, two months and 21 days from the receipt by the Office of the Ombudsman of the complaint of the Field Investigation Office on Apr. 8, 2015 up to the filing of the cases before the Sandiganbayan on June 29, 2018.
The anti-graft court also lifted the hold departure order issued against the couple and the P30,000 cash bonds for each count, or a total of P120,000, they respectively posted on July 11, 2018 for their temporary liberty were also ordered released.
The Ombudsman charged the former governor with one count of ethics case while another three counts were filed against him and his wife.
Records of the cases also showed that the former governor allegedly failed to declare in his SALN for 2006 his personal properties, such as a P6.16-million investment in the Rural Bank of Ibajay, Inc.; an Isuzu Elf; a Mazda pick-up; a Nissan Safari wagon; and a Kawasaki motorcycle.
On three counts, the couple allegedly failed to declare in their SALNs for 2007, 2008 and 2009 their personal properties such as P6.16 million investments in Rural Bank of Ibajay, Inc.; Isuzu Elf; Mazda pick-up; Nissan Safari wagon; and Kawasaki motorcycle. (PNA)