2 Mindanao mayors, ex-NBI exec ordered dismissed by Ombudsman

THE OFFICE of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of two Mindanao mayors, several members of the Sangguniang Bayan and a former regional director of the National Bureau of Investigation who were all found guilty of grave misconduct.

Dismissed from service were Trento, Agusan del Sur Mayor Johnmark Billanes, as well as five members of the Sanggunian Bayan of Trento; Balabagan, Lanao del Sur Mayor Edna Ogka-Benito; and lawyer Macapado Guro, former regional director of the National Police Commission IX in Pagadian City.

Based on the order, Mayor Billanes committed grave misconduct for signing a deed of sale for the local government’s purchase of a lot owned by his brother without the proper supporting documents, including the absence of a valid authorization from the Sangguniang Bayan (SB).

Five SB members were also dismissed from service for passing a resolution authorizing him to sign the contract despite the lack of a valid realignment and appropriation of funds to procure the land.

The Ombudsman decision states that these acts indicate “the giving of unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to Mayor’s Billanes’ brother.”

Mayor Ogka-Benito’s unjustifiable failure to act on the leave application and payment of back salaries of an employee in 2014 constitutes grave misconduct.

Guro was dismissed from service after he was caught red-handed receiving bribe money in exchange for a favorable outcome of a case during an entrapment operation by the Zamboanga City Police.

“As regional director and a lawyer, respondent cannot be ignorant of the fact that to demand, solicit, or accept from anyone anything of monetary value in the course of the performance of his official duties, is clear corruption, bribery and a crime,” the resolution approved by Ombudsman Morales states.

Meanwhile, three former Mindanao representatives were also ordered indicted by Ombudsman Morales this month for funneling their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to various “ghost” projects.

Former Davao Del Sur Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas IV, former Bukidnon Rep. Candido Pancrudo, Jr. and former Misamis Occidental Rep. Marina Clarete were separately charged with several counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019), Malversation and Malversation through Falsification of Public Documents.

Ombudsman Morales also ordered the suspension of Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri, Jr.; Zamboanga del Norte Governor Roberto Uy; Maguindanao Vice Governor Lester Sinsuat; Impasug-ong, Bukidnon Mayor Anthony Uy; Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi Mayor Kuyoh Pajiji; and Kauswagan Lanao del Norte Mayor Rommel Arnado.

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