NEGROS Occidental Provincial Legal Officer Jose Maria Valencia on Monday said the Capitol maintains that its purchase of the property for the Negros First Ranch in Barangay Sta. Rosa, Murcia is legal.
“I don’t see any criminal or administrative aspect in buying a piece of land,” Valencia said.
His reaction came after the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas filed criminal and administrative charges against Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and 10 others for the purchase of the lot covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
Also charged were the late Provincial Administrator Enrique Pinongan, Provincial Treasurer Gilda Generoso, former Acting Provincial Accountants Lucille Chavez-Pines and Caroline Isuga, Assistant Provincial Treasurer Lilia Sandy, retired Provincial Assessor Merlita Caelian, retired Provincial Engineer Leoncio Garrucho Jr. along with private landowners Albert Arguelles Jo, George C. Arguelles, and Gloria Arguelles.
Valencia said they do not have a copy of any complaint yet.
On Sunday, the camp of Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Peña distributed to the media copies of the letter of Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas Paul Emler Clemente addressed to lawyer Roger Reyes dated January 23, 2017, stating that the charges have been filed.
“We will cross the bridge when we get there,” Valencia said.
He added: “This is the first time I know that it is criminal to buy land, unless you are the owner and Capitol land grabbed it from you, then you can file a case.”*