Ombud drops plaints vs. 2 brgy. officials-A A +A
Thursday, August 23, 2012
TWO village officials in Cebu City were exonerated from the graft charges filed against them for the allegedly illegal destruction of several structures last year.
Antonio Yap, graft investigation and prosecution officer, dismissed the complaint for violation of the anti-graft law against Cogon Pardo Barangay Captain Eugenio Gabuya Jr. and Councilor Harry Iran.
The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas pointed out that the act of the village officials in demolishing the illegal structures built by some residents and the confiscation of the materials is “deemed valid and legal.”
“There was no showing that respondents have gravely abused their power and authority as barangay officials,” said Yap.
Complainant Edgardo Cantila said he and his companions were constructing a house when village watchmen arrived, confiscated and destroyed the housing materials last July 17, 2011.
Later that day, Gabuya allegedly ordered the barangay tanods and Iran to destroy the perimeter fence of the house.
When Cantilla confronted those who destroyed the house and the fence, a man wearing a mask allegedly pointed a gun at him and threatened to kill him.
Gabuya, in his response to the complaint, said they were preventing the construction of illegal structures in the barangay.
He said that the barangay’s campaign against illegal structures and professional squatters had led to the filing of a complaint for recovery of money against Cantilla, the chief of the village inhabitants’ group Kanipaan Chapter Residents’ Association.
Iran denied the charges. He explained that the barangay council was merely implementing their campaign against the construction of illegal structures and removing squatters in the area.
Both respondents also denied threatening to harm Cantilla.
They said they were just performing their duties as elected public officials.
In the resolution, Yap gave credence to the defense of the two barangay officials.
Yap said the structures built by the complainant and his group lacked a clearance and permit from the barangay, thus, these are deemed illegal.
The graft investigator said that Cantilla has been warned against illegal selling or leasing of the properties he does not own in the guise of urban scheme.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2012.