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Ombudsman junks graft raps vs Leonardia, 12 others

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The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the criminal and administrative charges filed against Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia and other government officials in connection with the purchase of a private lot in Barangay Felisa for a solid waste disposal facility in 2008.

The Field Investigation Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas filed the cases on March 15, 2017 for violation of Section 3 of Republic Act 3019, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Other respondents included former Sangguniang Panlungsod member and now Rep. Greg Gasataya, former city accountant Eduardo Ravena; former secretary to the mayor Goldwyn Nifras; City Assessor Maphilindo Polvora; Department of Public Services’ Josephus Cerna, Efren Canlas and Lemuel Reynaldo; Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Maximo Sillo; City Engineer’s Office Engineer IV Noel Impresso; former city treasurer Annabelle Badajos; Management and Audit Services Office officer-in-charge Ricardo Dahil-Dahil; and former City Engineer officer-in-charge Teresita Guadalupe.

“In fine, the criminal charge fails as do the administrative charges,” Ombudsman Samuel Martires said in an order dated May 6, 2019. (https://bit.ly/2OHsq0Z)

Martires added that there was propriety and reasonableness in the purchase of the property for a sanitary landfill.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Sara Esguerra and Othelo Ramos, which was based on the Commission on Audit’s Annual Audit Report in 2009.

“The Ombudsman found out that the case was already dismissed but it was refilled. Then again the results of the probe revealed that there was no new issue, so the Ombudsman dismissed the case,” said Gasataya.