Ombud dismisses 2 anti-graft partners

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014


THE Office of the Ombudsman Visayas has penalized six resident-ombudsmen for various administrative infractions.

In a memorandum, Deputy Ombudsman Pelagio Apostol informed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales that his office dismissed from the service two non-organic resident ombudsmen in the Visayas for allegedly violating the anti-graft law.

These are engineers Perfecto Yap, former Department of Trade and Industry 6 assistant director, and Luis Galang, former chief of the Planning and Maintenance Division of the Department of Public Works and Highways 7.

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Yap was dismissed from the service for allegedly falsifying public documents and committing dishonesty. Galang was fired over the alleged overpricing of lampposts for the Asean summit in Cebu in 2007.

The Visayas Ombudsman also suspended for one year without pay Christopher Montano, Commission on Human Rights information officer, for alleged immorality and disgraceful act.

Complaints

Lawyers Serafin Abellon, of the Bureau of Immigration-Cebu and Evelyn Carmelita Misal of the Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board, were told to stop being non-organic ombudsmen over complaints for alleged irregular activities in office.

Meanwhile, lawyer Noel Empleo, chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources legal and environmental education division, said he wants to be relieved as anti-corruption partner of the ombudsman.

He said he does not want the Visayas Ombudsman to be dragged into the controversy over his alleged bias in investigating environmental cases.

Resident-ombudsmen are anti-corruption government personnel who are not employees of the Visayas Ombudsman. They act as “eyes and ears” of the ombudsman in their government agencies.

Qualification

The Visayas Ombudsman taps three groups of resident-ombudsmen from Regions 6, 7 and 8 for its anti-corruption activities.

But not every public worker is qualified to become a resident-ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman Apostol pointed out.

Resident-ombudsmen, he explained, are "rare breed.” “They are not only willing to perform extra work without compensation, (but) are also the kind of people who show special interest or concern to check out corruption,” he added.

“There could be no successful investigation and prosecution of ombudsman cases without the support of the anti-corruption partners,” Apostol said.

There are two linkages between the Visayas Ombudsman and the public sector, through the Association of Resident Ombudsmen.

Apostol said the retirement or dismissal from the service of a resident ombudsman does not affect the partnership in the fight against corruption within the government.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 04, 2014.

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