Ombud stands pat on decisions to sue Arroyo officials-A A +A
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
ACTING Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro is standing behind decisions to sue government officials affiliated with the Arroyo administration despite being accused of abusing his discretion.
In a press statement released Tuesday, Casimiro said the he took note of a petition filed by former Agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante and former assistant secretary Ibarra Poliquit to have the Supreme Court (SC) halt the filing of plunder charges against them.
However, he said this does not nullify his order to file plunder cases against them over the P728-million fertilizer fund scam.
Bolante and Poliquit asked the SC to issue an injunction on the plunder charges, saying Casimiro showed "grave abuse of discretion" by ordering them charged.
Casimiro junked their appeals last week and ordered the filing of charges as originally ordered by former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.
They said the order to charge them cannot be executed since they still have 60 days to bring the issue before the SC.
Casimiro cited the SC decision in Ombudsman versus Samaniego that upheld a rule in the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman that "an appeal shall not stop the decision (to file charges) from being executory."
Former Agriculture secretary Luis "Cito" Lorenzo Jr. was also ordered charged after the acting Ombudsman denied his appeal.
Casimiro also junked the appeals of former Quezon City representative Nanette Castelo-Daza, former Marinduque governor Carmencita Reyes, and former Cantanduanes governor Leandro Verceles Jr. They will also be charged with graft, he said.
The acting Ombudsman also said Tuesday that a decision to dismiss Prospero Pichay Jr., chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration board, for grave misconduct had basis.
"The administrative case was filed against him after a thorough and painstaking review by the lawyers from the Office of the Ombudsman and the law was applied on the basis of established facts as borne by the records," a press statement from the Office of the Ombudsman said.
Pichay said the charges against him had no legal basis, adding the case was political harassment against allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Pichay has also threatened to have Casimiro disbarred for alleged "grave abuse of discretion."
The Office of the Ombudsman said Casimiro "respects" the legal remedies that Pichay will avail of.
On Monday, Casimiro ordered Pichay, LWUA acting administrator Daniel Landingin, deputy administrator Wilfredo Feleo, and lawyer Arnaldo Espinas dismissed from government service for acquiring a bank without authorization.
Pichay said Tuesday morning that the LWUA broke no laws when it acquired Express Savings Bank Inc. (EXSBI) in 2009.
He said no money was lost and that the money used to buy the bank was from LWUA funds, and not from the national government. He added the acquisition was approved by the Office of the President.
The purchase of the bank was approved by the Office of the President in October 2009, "four months after LWUA had already acquired the bank," the Office of the Ombudsman noted Monday.
Pichay added he was not an accountable officer and could not be held liable.
Casimiro, a nominee for Ombudsman, was excluded from the short list prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council. The Office of the Ombudsman said Casimiro will work for an orderly transition with whomever President Benigno Aquino III will appoint to replace former Ombudsman Gutierrez. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)