THE Office of the Ombudsman dismissed the fund malversation complaints against Mabalacat City Mayor Crisostomo Garbo and four other local officials.
This was gleaned in a 9-page resolution issued by the Ombudsman dated January 27, 2020.
The Ombudsman rejected the administrative raps filed by former councilors Rogelio Yumul and Jerry Basilio two years ago due to "lack of merit."
Yumul and Basilio filed the charges in January 2019 against the city mayor, City Human Resource Officer Merla De Leon, City Accountant Aileen Rigor, Acting City Treasurer Marlene Mendiola, and Assistant Budget Officer Narce Paquia for allegedly violating Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), stressing the so-called “diversion of funds” to provide special rates to some Job Order (JO) personnel of the local government.
The Certified True Copy of the Ombudsman resolution was received by Mayor Garbo’s camp on March 22, 2021.
The order states that “the funds allocated for the salaries of the JO personnel were applied to pay for the special rates JO personnel does not constitute technical malversation."
“Both Appropriation Ordinance (AO) No. 6 Series of 2017, and Appropriation Ordinance No. 8 Series of 2018 did not specify the number of JO personnel to be hired as well as the rate that each is entitled to receive. AO No. 8 Series of 2018 also does not contain any specification as to the number of JO personnel and their corresponding rates,” the resolution specified.
“Thus, the charge against the respondents for violation of Article 220 of the RPC must be dismissed,” the resolution stated.
Garbo said the decision of the higher court brings “justice for the wrongfully accused” since the documentary proofs presented to the court invalidates the claims of the complainants.
“Whatever their motives were, it is clear to the people of Mabalacat that the funds were used in its most forthright way. Transparency and accountability have been my consistent pillars in local governance,” the mayor said.
Yumul and Basilio both lost in the 2019 National and Local Elections having placed 17th and 18th of the 28 candidate-councilors.
Local political critics view their losses as a resulting backlash from their allegations. Some locals believe that the issue has damaged their chances to earn a council seat then.
“May the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman end this circus of political propaganda. We got a lot of work to do to better serve our people in this time of pandemic,” Garbo said.