THE Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has dismissed the charges filed by 40 barangay captains against Cebu City Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña over the latter’s order to return city-issued vehicles in 2016.
In a 13-page joint resolution, the anti-graft office dismissed the charges for malicious prosecution, oppression and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of justice, among others, that the barangay captains filed against Osmeña for lack of probable cause and substantial evidence.
The case filed by the barangay captains is an offshoot of the August 9, 2017 joint resolution of the Ombudsman dismissing the criminal and administrative complaints filed by Osmeña against them.
On May 17, 2016, Osmeña, who was acting mayor that time issued a memorandum ordering all barangay captains and officials to return City-issued vehicles excluding those used for emergency purposes for inventory purposes.
For the alleged refusal of the barangay captains to return on time the vehicles, Osmeña filed criminal and administrative cases against them last June 2, 2016.
In the joint resolution, the Ombudsman said there is no probable cause to indict Margot for malicious prosecution since her earlier complaint only stated factual matters.
“There is nothing mischievous about respondent’s recourse to file a case. It would have been malicious, had respondent did not stoop to that level. Respondent simply exercised the remedies available to her office against those who failed to promptly comply with her directives," stated the resolution.
City lawyer Francis Ocampo said the dismissal of the case was already expected as there was really no basis for it.
“Remember that the cases were filed against all barangay captains who failed to return the vehicles without regard to their political affiliation. There was definitely no malice in the filing of the cases. It was her duty as acting mayor to see to it that the lawful orders and directives are complied with. By filing the cases, she was merely availing of the legal remedies that were available to her,” said Ocampo. (RVC)