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Ombudsman suspends DENR officials over Iloilo land dispute

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by Allan Yves Briones

Three Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) officials are facing six-month preventive suspensions stemming from complaints of grave misconduct and neglect of duty in relation to a 22,445 square meter area in Iloilo.

“There is enough basis to conclude that their continued stay in office may prejudice the just, fair and independent disposition of the present case. This Office is, therefore, fully convinced that placing respondents under preventive suspension is proper,” the Ombudsman said in an eight-page order issued August 15.

Named in the order are:

Roxas City Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Bernabe Garnace
Tubungan Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer (MENRO) Francisco Gallego Jr.
Miag-ao CENRO Salvador Manglinong Jr.

The complaints originated from non-profit organization Auxiliary Missionaries of the Assumption Inc. (AMA) which filed for Reclaimed Land Leases Application regarding three lots covering 22,445 sq. m. at Barrio Obrero, Lapuz Norte, La Paz, Iloilo City.

According to AMA, they have been denied and subjected to “unreasonable delay” by the named officials who cited various reasons including alleged lack of requirements, as well as additional fees and surveys.

By August 3, 2011, according to AMA, Garnace has ordered the agency to deny their application, while Manglinong was held responsible in relation to a Miscellaneous Lease Application they filed two years later.

Gallego, on the other hand, was responsible for approving an investigation report meant to support Garnace’s idea of subdividing the lots previously leased by AMA.

According to AMA, the move was not consulted with other DENR officials, rendering it unauthorized.

The three accused are suspended without pay pending the disposition of their cases.

They are facing complaints for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. #