SC orders Ombudsman to file raps vs. barangay chief for getting garbage collection fees

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The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) to file charges against Magigondon Barangay Captain Lucresia Amores of Lapu-Lapu City for illegally imposing garbage collection fees.

In a decision, the SC granted the petition of complainant Carlos Reynes, manager of Blue Reff Beach Resort, to compel the OMB to charge Amores for illegal extractions in violation of the Revised Penal Code.

The high tribunal pointed out OMB Visayas graft investigator Michael Mernado Jr. committed grave abuse of discretion in the dismissing the complaint against the barangay official.

Reynes complained that complained that Amores imposed a monthly garbage collection fee ranging from P1,000 to P2,000 without any ordinance or statute, or any other regulation authorizing its collection.

Menardo dismissed the complaint Reynes filed before the OMB due to lack of evidence since the complainant failed to produce an ordinance regarding garbage fees.

The SC ruled that Menardo’s reasoning is “an error that is as grievous as it is mind-boggling.”

“A public prosecutor who does not merely disregard but even grossly misinterprets to the point of distorting evidence and the Revised Penal Code’s standards for liability, turning a blind eye to palpable indicators of criminal liability, commits grave abuse of discretion,” the SC said.

On the other hand, the high court assured that is not yet adjudication on the merits made after the rigors of a full-blown trial.

“The parties are free to expound their claims and to adduce their evidence,” it added.