TACLOBAN CITY - The camp of Southern Leyte Governor Damian Mercado will file a motion for reconsideration after the Office of the Ombudsman ruled on Thursday to dismiss him from service.
The Ombudsman, on its resolution issued on August 10, directed for the dismissal of Mercado from service as he allegedly committed grave misconduct and faces charges for graft and violation of the Government Reform Procurement Act before the Sandiganbayan.
Mercado said on Friday that he has yet to receive his copy from the Ombudsman, adding that his lawyers are studying the case.
The dismissal order, approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, was for Mercado's sale of his old vehicle to the City Government of Maasin.
Mercado was charged for graft and faces the prospect of being dismissed from service and perpetual disqualification to hold any public positions.
The 63-year-old governor started his political career as a chairman of Barangay Abgao in 1987, one of the most populous villages in Maasin City 1987. Then he became the mayor of Maasin when it was still a municipality from 1998 until 2000, and as city mayor from 2000 to 2007.
He was elected as governor of Southern Leyte in 2007 until 2013 and became the representative of the said province from 2013 to 2016. He was elected again as Southern Leyte governor in the 2016 elections.
The case involving the governor took place in 2007 when, as mayor of Maasin, he directed for the purchase of three reconditioned vehicles intended for the use of the City Government for P2.3 million.
But based on the investigation conducted by the Ombudsman, it was discovered that one of the vehicles procured, a Toyota Grandia, was owned by Mercado.
Also purchased were a Mitsubishi Pajero and an Isuzu Wizard which were awarded to Kojac Auto Repair Shop.
Charged alongside Mercado were Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairman Crispin Arong Jr., BAC vice chairperson Feorillo Demeterio Jr.; BAC members Anecito Narit, Benjase Lumen and Consuelo Ladrera; and supplier Baltazar Avila Sr. of Kojac Auto Repair Shop and Auto Supply.
Mercado’s co-accused were also found guilty of grave misconduct and ordered dismissed from the service.
The dismissal order carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits, cancellation of eligibility and being barred from taking the civil service examinations.
Mercado has another pending case with the Ombudsman for falsification of public documents. He is set to face trial before the Sandiganbayan after the anti-graft body found probable cause to charge him with Falsification of Public Documents under the Revised Penal Code. His lawyers filed motion for reconsideration in this case last May 2017. (PNA)