Office of the Ombudsman suspends Maguindanao, Agusan mayors

Published March 7, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Czarina Nicole O. Ong

The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered suspension of the mayors of Talitay, Maguindanao and Buenavista, Agusan del Norte for neglect of duty.

Suspended for one year because of gross neglect of duty as Talitay Mayor Montaser Sabal for his failure to disclose substantial properties and business interests in his 2011 to 2015 Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs).

Buenavista Mayor Norberto Pagaspas, on the other hand, was suspended for one month, together with two town personnel, for simple neglect of duty in connection with the illegal demolition of a stall in the town market last July 31, 2016.

In its order against Sabal, the Talitay mayor was found to have also failed to disclose that he owned 14 firearms and four high-end vehicles, and had business interests in general merchandise, construction supplies, and accessories.

The Ombudsman also found that Sabal failed to secure the permission of the governor for his overseas trips from 2010 to 2016.

His list of faults did not end there. Sabal also failed to initiate and propose legislative measures to the Sanggunian for the municipality’s anti-illegal drugs program as mandated under Republic Act 9165, also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) even issued Memorandum Circular No. 2015-63, which states that “the failure to so appropriate shall be a ground for an administrative case for dereliction of duty against concerned local officials and the disapproval of the local annual budget on review.”

Still, Sabal failed to implement the required measures.

Municipal Budget Officer Charity Tampoco and Municipal Treasurer Norodin Samaon revealed that the municipality never allocated budget for the anti-illegal drugs program from 2010 to 2015.

Pagaspas, who was suspended with market supervisor Jairus Arapan and security guard Armando Malaki, was charged before the Ombudsman by market stall owner Mildred Estelliori who complained that her store “stocks were dumped and littered inside the municipality’s market office.