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Sorsogon mayor, municipal engineer sacked by Ombudsman

BULAN, Sorsogon, November 14, 2016 (Bicol Standard) — The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), through Regional Director Elouisa Pastor, has implemented earlier this week the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman finding respondents Mayor Helen C. De Castro and Engr. Toby C. Gonzales, Jr. guilty of Grave Misconduct.

Bulan, Sorsogon Mayor Helen De Castro
Photo via Padabaon ta an Sorsogon
The Order reads: “They are hereby meted the penalty of dismissal from the service with cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualifications from holding public office and bar from taking civil service examination pursuant to Section 10, Rule III, Administrative Order No. 07, as amended by Administrative Order No. 17, in relation to Section 25 of Republic Act No. 6770.

In the event however, that the penalty of Dismissal can no longer be enforced due to respondents' separation from the service, the penalty shall be converted into a Fine in an amount equivalent to respondents' respective salary for one (1) year, payable to the Office of the Ombudsman, and may be deductible from the respondents' retirement benefits, accrued leave credits or any receivable from their office.”

The complaint, which was filed by Romeo Valeriano, averred that “the construction of the Bulan Integrated Bus Terminal, and slaughterhouse, with project costs of P32,984,700.00 and P4, 991,900.00, respectively was tainted with various defects and irregularities.”

“Respondent Mayor De Castro issued a Certificate of Acceptance and Turn-over dated December 4, 2007, stating that the construction of the Bulan Integrated Bus Terminal was 100% complete when it was only 99.42% complete as of August 19, 2008. In other words, it had unaccomplished deficiency which is equivalent to P191,536.13 overpayment.”

“The construction of the bus terminal was excessive by 6,968,937.18 above the COA estimated cost of Php26,015,762.82,” the decision reads.

The Office of the Ombudsman said it found substantial evidence to hold De Castro and Gonzales, Jr. liable for Grave Misconduct.

Meanwhile, the complaint for Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, Grave Abuse of Authority, Serious Dishonesty, and Grave Misconduct against respondents Dennis H. Dino, Rodosendo A. Razo, Jr., Sonia G. Revilla, Liza L. Hollon, Carmencita S. Morata, Orencio Luzuriaga was dismissed for lack of merit.

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