OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio-Morales dismissed grave coercion and violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019) cases against Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, then Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo, then Senior Supt. Leopoldo Cabanag and Czareem Estella over the closure of Sugbu TV.
“Complainants failed to establish by substantial evidence that respondents wrongfully inflicted upon complainants and other employees of Sugbu TV and Sugbu News bodily harm or acted with cruelty, severity, corruption, clear intent to violate the law or flagrant disregard of established rule. Wherefore, these complaints are dismissed,” read the joint resolution of Lolita Simeona Micu-Bravo and approved by Morales last June 11, 2015.
The complainants in the case are Rowena Zulueta and Rufo Carzano, head of the news department and reporter, respectively.
“I only have the best of intentions when we close that,” said Magpale in closing the network. She said she ‘inherited’ only P40 million in the general fund when she took over as acting governor.
With limited funds to run the province, she said she had to cut expenses, and the major one was the $14,000 monthly rent or P588,000, then at P42 to a dollar, for a satellite uplink.
“Maong lipay gyud ko nga na-dismiss na (I am happy that case was dismissed),” she said, and implied that she did not have any bad intentions.
Complainants Zulueta and Carzano accused Magpale and others of corrupt practices or violations of Republic Act (RA) 3019, particularly Section 3 (a), which is persuading and inducing public official to perform illegal acts, and; e) causing undue injury to a party by giving unwarranted advantage or benefit to another party in doing one’s official function.
But the ombudsman stated “there is no probable cause to prosecute respondents for violation of Section 3 (a) of RA 3019.”
The ombudsman said that “respondent Magpale has the legal authority to act as governor by virtue of the Office of the President decision in O.P. Case 10-H-388 suspending then governor Gwendolyn Garcia from office for six months.”
The ombudsman stated that Magpale did not persuade, induce or influence respondents to violate rules and regulation.
Also, the ombudsman stated that accusing respondent of causing undue injury through impartiality cannot prosper.
“Complainant failed to allege and prove that respondents caused the temporary closure of Sugbu TV and Sugbu News through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence,” the resolution stated.