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Complaints vs Garchi mayor purely ‘political harassment’

GARCHITORENA, CSur—Municipal Mayor Jesus Rico Sarmiento tagged as “political harassment” the complaints filed at the Office of the Ombudsman against him.

Mayor Jesus Rico Sarmiento
Garchitorena Mayor Jesus Rico Sarmiento
Photo via DA
Vehemently denying the accusations, Sarmiento said in an interview by BICOL STANDARD that political opponents are likely behind the move.

He named former mayor Solon Demeriou, Jr. as the person behind the Indirect Bribery complaint for violation of Republic Act 3019, Sec 3 (b) and Republic Act 6713, in relation to Executive Order 292, filed against him by municipal councilor Erasmo Bombase, Jr. and Jesse Boy Clores.

As regards the non-inclusion in his Statement of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN) of the house that is in his name in Naga City, he explained that he did not have the obligation to declare the same because he is not the true owner of the property.

He clarified that the said property was bought by his father from the proceeds of the earnings from their landholding, along with some contributions from his father’s sister who is residing in the United States.

“There is an agreement among my father, his sister and relatives that all the income from their lands should be used to purchase a house and lot in Naga City that they can use whenever they are in Bicol,” he said.

“There is absolutely no ill-gotten wealth. In fact it was the decision of my father and his sister to have the house and lot registered in my name because they are already old. When they die, it will be transferred ultimately to me, thereby avoiding the payment of unnecessary taxes,” he clarified.

“In case the complainants are not convinced with my explanation, then they should just wait for the court to decide on the issue,” he added further.

As for the indirect bribery charge, Sarmiento said that the SUV that is allegedly his, is in fact the property of JM Cofer Construction and Supply.

“I have already controverted the allegations made by the complainant in my verified answer to the Ombudsman,” he said.

Earlier, Mayor Sarmiento was vocal in accusing former town mayor Solon Demetriou, Jr., as the one behind these complaints because of his plan to engage him in the forthcoming election in 2016.

He chided Demetriou, Jr. for using dirty political tactics to put him down by circulating propaganda materials against him and using his trusted allies, including Bombase who was his secretary during his incumbency as town executive, against him.

Sarmiento believes that the complaint will be dismissed by the Ombudsman because there is no solid basis that would warrant his removal from office as prayed for by the complainants.

Meanwhile, complainant Bombase is also facing an administrative charge before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur, he declared.

Yesterday, a preliminary hearing was scheduled to tackle the complaint against Bombase, but it was was cancelled.—With report from Oscar Esmenda. BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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