THE Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas dismissed a criminal and two administrative complaints filed against Pulupandan Mayor Magdaleno Peña and 20 barangay captains of the said municipality.

A resolution dated Sept. 3, 2009 signed and approved by Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Mark Jalandoni upon the recommendation of Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio S. Apostol, ordered the dismissal of the libel case filed by the late Pulupandan mayor Luis Mondia Sr. against the respondents for lack of merit.

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The complaint stemmed from the letter allegedly sent by Peña and 20 barangay officials to the general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) requesting the latter to cancel the contract of service of the Integrated Stevedoring and Arrastre Corporation (ISACOR), which is owned the family of Mondia.

Mondia said in his complaint that the letter was libelous because it branded their family as supporters of Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

The letter alleged that as long as ISACOR continues to operate in Pulupandan, the Mondias will also continue supporting the CPP-NPA. It also named the Mondia family as the ones behind the attempt to kill Peña.

However, Peña and the other respondents vehemently denied the allegations and labeled them “as baseless and unfounded.”

The Ombudsman also ordered the dismissal of two administrative cases for grave misconduct and grave oppression filed by the late mayor and his brother Samson Mondia against Peña and the village officials for lack of merit.

These said cases were hinged upon the accusation of libel earlier filed by the late mayor.

”Since these administrative complaints are founded upon the premise that respondents committed libel, the Ombudsman’s findings of absence of probable cause in the libel charge calls for the dismissal of the administrative charges,” the Ombudsman resolution read.

“Otherwise stated, in view of the absolute dearth of evidence and untenability of the charge for libel against herein respondents, this office is constrained as well to absolve them from administrative liability,” it added.

It added that nowhere in the records or evidences presented by the complainant could the Ombudsman establish that respondents were moved by bad faith, ill motives, malice or intent to defame or discredit the complainant.

Mayor Peña’s co-respondents in the complaint are barangay captains Lissa Marie Lasola Bantigue (Zone 1), Ericdon Talagon Cepida (Zone 1-A), Tino Barrientos Estares (Zone 2), Hernaldo Verayo Era (Zone 3), Wilfredo Buenafe Servania (Zone 4); Jimmy Sapio Polido (Zone 4-A), Cynthia Ramos Barrato (Zone 5), Allan Jandi Jacildo (Zone 6), Gilnor Verayo Desangaño (Zone 7), Francisco Montero Dorepes,,Jr.(Canjusa), Johnald Tabucon Juaneza (Crossing), Ronnie Odelmo Moreno(Culo); Romulo Juarez Campantero (Utod), Rosal Inocencio Ortega (Pag-ayon), Jonah Nuñez Jarlata (Tapong), John Barrientos Ordaniel (Palaka Sur), Erna Talagon Tortocion (Palaka Norte), Ramil dela Cruz Tenero (Mabini), Ramon Alvezo Tandoy (Ubay) and Roberto Go Valenzuela (Patic). (Jerome S. Galunan Jr.)