Test case for Ombudsman

Published November 6, 2018, 12:02 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

MERRY-GO-ROUND

By FLORO MERCENE

A complaint was filed against House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr.  for failing to declare multi-million pesos worth of property in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth, (SALN). This could be a test case for the Office of the Ombudsman under retired Supreme Court Justice Samuel Martires.

Upon his assumption, Martires vowed there would be no sacred cows for cases filed before the Ombudsman while on his watch.

The case against Andaya was lodged by a coalition of Commissioner Greco Belgica–of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

Belgica’s Truth and Justice Coalition accused the Bicol congressman of having “unexplained and undeclared wealth”  in his SALN for 2016 and 2017.

Belgica’s group saw several red flags in the SALNs for 2016 and 2017, for having the same net worth of P45.65 million.

The coalition claimed that Andaya failed to declare nine real properties — one in Quezon City, seven in Camarines Sur, one in Taguig City. Checked against the Land Registration Authority’s (LRA) database, these properties were in the name of Andaya or his wife, as well as six properties in Cavite registered in his business enterprise, the Noy and Ning’s Corporation.

The Ombudsman was urged to place Andaya under preventive suspension as the allegations are allegedly supported by “overwhelming and irrefutable amount of evidence.”

If found guilty, the group wants the Ombudsman to indict and dismiss the legislator from government service, and declare him and his wife’s “perpetual disqualification to hold public office.”

Andaya defensively claimed the complaint was an “expensive political hatchet job” of his opponents in the run-up to the 2019 elections.

He said the latest surveys showed he would beat any candidate for Camarines Sur governor next year.

However, local surveys show incumbent Gov. Migz Villafuerte will win by a landslide against Andaya.

He should be reminded two chief justices of the Supreme Court fell from grace for lesser offenses involving their SALNs — Maria Lourdes Sereno for violating the constitutional requirement on the filing of the SALN, and the late Renato Corona,  failing to declare P180 million worth of dollar and peso deposits in his SALN.

 
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