SC junks mayor’s plea vs Ombudsman

THE Supreme Court (SC) First Division has dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella against the Office of the Ombudsman for grave abuse of discretion.

The petition was filed by Puentevella in relation to his indictment in the graft case on the alleged anomalous purchase of P26-million worth of computers for public schools in Bacolod City when he was still congressman.

A portion of the resolution in G.R. No. 210696 dated February 24, stated that the mayor’s petition for certiorari was dismissed “for failure to sufficiently show that the Ombudsman committed a grave abuse of discretion when it issued the challenged judgments.”

“On the contrary, it does not appear that the Ombudsman violated the right of petitioner (Puentevella) to the speedy disposition of cases. It has acted in accordance with the facts and the applicable law and jurisprudence,” the resolution added.

Ralph Sarmiento, legal counsel of Puentevella, said in an emailed statement that he learned about the resolution on Wednesday, April 13, through the media.

“I have not yet received a copy, but the Office of Atty. Howard M. Calleja, which has already assumed the representation of Mayor Monico in the said case, has confirmed that it had already received a copy of the said resolution,” he added.

Sarmiento pointed out that the resolution is not yet final.

“Mayor Monico can still file a motion for reconsideration. In fact, the Calleja Law Office has already begun preparing the same,” he said. “Mayor Monico still hopes that the Supreme Court will still finally rule in his favor when the court receives his motion for reconsideration. However, I could not at this time elaborate on the merits of the case.”

He added that Puentevella was ready to prove his innocence in a full blown trial before the Sandiganbayan should the Supreme Court also deny his motion for reconsideration.

Lawyer Joselito Bayatan, nominal complainant and private respondent, said in a statement that the dismissal of Puentevella’s petition is “a victory of justice, especially to the poor public school students who were supposed to be the real beneficiaries of the computers.” (CNC)

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