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Gov. Mian denies Ombudsman charge


May 13 - 19, 2017

MAASIN CITY - Southern Leyte’s Governor Damian G. Mercado breaks his silence after recent accusations against him by the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) regarding the alleged act of falsification of public document.

During a press conference and an assembly of local officials at the provincial capitol building, Governor Mercado said he acted in good faith penning his personal data sheet (PDS), and that he did not in any way use the reported “civil engineer” entry in the profession portion of the PDS to gain advantage of his position.

Ombudsman charge “I was not able to check and verify my PDS which was made by one of my staff during that time because of the voluminous paper works,” Mercado said.

“In fact, my priority is education because I myself know the feeling of a person who did not finish his or her studies,” he added.

Mercado stated that during election campaigns, he did not hide the fact that he didn’t finish his studies and that he is just an ordinary person.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Ombudsman, headed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, has found probable cause to submit the longstanding case against Governor Mercado to the Sandiganbayan, for the alleged act of falsification of public document, which according to the anti-graft office is punishable under Article 171 (4) of the Revised Penal Code.

Jerry Rosette, Information Officer of the Office of the Ombudsman, informed SLT that the Ombudsman has found probable cause for the falsification charge, and that their office does not rule out the possibility of the Ombudsman later attaching other administrative claims or a possible “moto propio” suspension order, if the Ombudsman finds it proper, before it reaches the Sandiganbayan court.

In its May 5 press release, the Office of the Ombudsman in a resolution claimed that Mercado allegedly failed to submit a true and complete Personal Data Sheet (PDS) and the Elective Local Official’s Profile Directory (Data Capture Form).

The press release further claimed that their documents showed that Mercado allegedly claimed to be a civil engineer by profession. The Ombudsman also noted that in Mercado’s 2010 PDS, he failed to state the years when he graduated from the educational institutions he studied in.

The Ombudsman’s resolution claims that, “Mercado’s failure to fill up the spaces for the year when he graduated constitutes concealment of information in violation of his undertaking in his PDS to state the true, correct and complete statement pursuant to the provisions of pertinent laws, rules and regulations.”

In his defense, Mercado denied the charges against him and told the Ombudsman that the case should be dismissed on the ground of inordinate delay in the investigation. But, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales in her resolution explained, “the fact-finding case or case build-up phase of the prosecutorial process of this office is not part of preliminary investigation.”

“As of this time the filing of charges against Governor Mercado to the Sandiganbayan is temporarily suspended, because there is a pending motion for reconsideration filed by the Southern Leyte governor. The governor’s motion for reconsideration is going to be reviewed and decided upon personally by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.” Ombudsman Information Officer Rosette ended.

Mercado confirmed this to the press that his lawyers recently filed a motion for reconsideration to the Ombudsman’s office and then opted not to discuss publicly the legal aspects of the case.

When asked by SLT on what was his message to local government workers, the governor said that they should review carefully all public documents before they affix their signatures, to avoid the same incident.(By MARK L. RIMAS)






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