BACOLOD City Executive Assistant Samuel Montoyo, chairman of the Save Bacolod Movement Inc., will file his motion for reconsideration before the Office of the Ombudsman next week on the dismissal of the criminal charges against former Bacolod City congressman and former mayor Monico Puentevella related to the hosting of the Bacolod leg of the 2005 Southeast Asian Games (Sea Games).
Montoyo said Wednesday, April 3, he received the copy of the order on March 26 and he has 15 days to file his motion for reconsideration.
“I will file my motion for reconsideration because this case is not yet over,” he said.
On May 8, 2014, Montoyo filed criminal cases of malversation of public funds; failure to account by accountable officer; technical malversation under Article 217, 218 and 220 of the Revised Penal Code; and for violation of Republic Act 3019 or Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Puentevella.
Montoyo said he filed the case because Puentevella has a notice of disallowance from the Commission on Audit (Coa) amounting to P36.7 million.
On February 7, 2019, the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City dismissed the criminal charges against Puentevella; Edwin Javella, finance head of Bacolod Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee; and Eric Loretizo, secretary general of Basoc, for malversation of public funds and failure to render accounts.
The nine-page decision was approved by Ombudsman Samuel Martires on February 7.
The order stated that the Joint Resolution dated November 2016, which found probable cause against Puentevella for malversation of funds and violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019, was hereby reversed and set aside. Accordingly, OMB-V-C-14-0092 and OMB-V-C-14-0249 were dismissed.
In its joint order, the Ombudsman states that there was clear and unjustified delay in the Field Investigation Office’s fact-finding investigation, hence the body is constrained to dismiss OMB-V-C-14-0092 and OMB-V-C-14-0249 in observance of Puentevella’s constitutional right to speedy disposition of the cases against him.
In its determination of whether Puentevella’s right has been violated, the Ombudsman considered the length of delay, the reasons for the delay, the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice caused by the delay, as attendant factors to its evaluation.
Montoyo said the case was reversed and set aside due to inordinate delay and not based on the merit of the case.
“Puentevella should not release fake news because the case is not yet over. It’s not a time to celebrate, but it’s a time to recollect,” he said.
Montoyo recalled that on August 23, 2005, the Department of Budget and Management issued a Special Allotment Release Order (Saro) amounting to P50 million to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for the hosting of the 23rd Sea Games from November 27 to December 5, 2005.
He said PSC transferred P50 million to the Basoc, which was received and deposited by Puentevella to his bank account. On March 20, 2006, Puentevella submitted his liquidation expenses to PSC for only P20 million.
On January 30, 2014, COA- Philippines Sports Commission auditors issued a notice of disallowance to Puentevella covering the transaction of P36.78 million, taking into account the insufficiency of documents.
Montoyo said that on February 18, 2014, criminal charges were filed by the FIO of the Ombudsman against Puentevella, along with Javellana and Loretizo.
Puentevella earlier said that it’s a blessing in disguise that he received the order during the campaign period.
“For the past 10 years, my colleagues and I have been unfairly subjected to trial by publicity. This dismissal is a welcome vindication and only shows that the filing of those cases were politically motivated and meant to mislead the public from the resounding success of our hosting of the SEA Games. I think this is the case that will make me win in the May elections. That’s why I’m very happy,” he said. (MAP)