Ombudsman dismisses graft charges vs former Oro mayor

THE office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the 2013 graft charges filed
by three City Hall workers against former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor
Vicente Emano.

In a 6-page resolution penned by the Assistant Ombudsman Leillanie Bernadette Cabras on August 10, the charges of violation of section 3 (e) and (f) of the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019) against Emano was dismissed for lack of probable cause.

The case stemmed after Emano reassigned City Hall employees Ricardo Valerio, Dennis Naive and Melchor Luna to different positions and stations in July 2010.

Valerio, Naive and Luna holds permanent positions as engineering assistant, mining claims examiner and administrative aide IV, respectively but were made to report to the hinterland villages in the city during Emano's term.

The three questioned the validity of the detail order before the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

The commission directed the erstwhile mayor to restore the complainants to their original positions. Emano asked the CSC to reconsider its decision but it was denied.

Emano then filed a petition for review with prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and preliminary injunction before the Court of Appeals.

In his counter-affidavit, Emano argued that the complainants failed to present proof of evident bad faith and undue injury as he maintained that he failed to implement the CSC resolution because it was already election ban which prohibits the movement of personnel in the civil service.

As to the criminal offenses charge, the ombudsman finds no probable cause to indict Emano.

"With respect to the alleged violation of RA 3019, complainants claim of having suffered undue injury was not adequately substantiated. Valerio and Naive's claim that they were not paid their salaries during their reassignment due to the alleged refusal of their supervisors to sign their DTRs and that Luna spent additional money for travel expenses from his house to his place of assignment were not supported by documents showing quantifiable injury," the resolution said.

"There is nothing in the records of the present case that substantiate the claim for unpaid salaries and financial dislocation which complainants contend to have suffered, hence the charge must fail," the resolution added.

The complainants were reportedly reinstated after Mayor Oscar Moreno won the election.

"Wala man gyud malice on the part of Emano. Walay bad faith tungod kay election time man unya naa tay gi-file nga petition for review sa Court of Appeals," lawyer Leon Gan, Emano's legal counsel, said.

Gan said the City Hall workers can still appeal the Ombudsman's decision but with slim chance following the anti-graft court's decision acquitting Emano over the seemingly similar charges filed by another City Hall worker Leonor Esparcia.

"Pwede man sila maka apela pero slim ang chance kay klaro mana the more nga nakadaog si Dongkoy sa Sandiganbayan pwede man to maapply ang decision diha sa ombudsman," Gan said.

"Justice is always alive in the ombudsman. The decision proves sa statement ni Dongkoy sukad kaniadto nga ang tawo nga walay sala walay angay kahadlokan," Gan added.
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