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Corruption at Ombudsman
« on: December 25, 2017, 07:31:47 PM »
Former Deputy Ombudsman, two others, found liable for tampering with official documents
29 July 2013, Press Release Ombudsman

            Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the filing of criminal cases against former Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Mark Jalandoni, former Assistant Ombudsman Nennette De Padua, and former Executive Assistant Rosalyn D. Martinez for tampering with official documents.

In a Resolution approved on 25 July 2013, Ombudsman Morales found probable cause on thirteen (13) counts of Falsification of Public Documents under Article 171, par. 6 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), and fifty-six (56) counts of Infidelity in the Custody of Public Documents through Concealment under Article 226 of the RPC.

Ombudsman Morales, in a separate Decision of even date, also found Jalandoni administratively liable for Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, and imposed upon him the penalty of dismissal from service with accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and bar from taking civil service examinations.

In lieu of dismissal from the service, which penalty can no longer be implemented since Jalandoni resigned in April 2011, Ombudsman Morales imposed the penalty of fine equivalent to his salary for one (1) year.
            The case stemmed from a complaint filed in 2011 by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro who discovered that respondents allegedly conspired in tampering with decisions, resolutions, orders and other official documents during their tenure in the Office of the Ombudsman, which irregularities were discovered when then Acting Ombudsman Casimiro ordered an inventory of pending cases after the resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. 

            The Resolution/Decision found that Jalandoni, De Padua and Martinez systematically tampered with official documents by “patching” the signatures of approving authorities, wherein the signature portion was superimposed with a patch of paper with Jalandoni as the purported approving authority. 

It was found that in at least 56 cases the tampering resulted in the delay in the release of already-approved documents, and in at least 13 cases, the “patches” were signed by Jalandoni, making it appear that he was the official authorized to sign the documents, when in fact they were already signed by various officials including Ombudsman Gutierrez herself.

            “In resolving this case, we are hoping to send a clear and unequivocal message that we are serious in preserving the integrity of the Office of the Ombudsman,” Ombudsman Morales stated.

“We will not relent in our fight against all forms of anomalies in government, even those committed inside our own office, and even those perpetrated by our own high-ranking officials.  As the people’s vanguard against corrupt and abusive public officials, it is imperative that we closely monitor our ranks.  As such, Ombudsman officials and employees should be beyond reproach,” she added.

            The criminal complaint as against Amie Lou Fernandez, Associate Graft Investigation Officer; Grace Anne Arnan, Graft Prevention and Control Officer; and Ruby Ann Medallada, Administrative Aide, were dismissed for lack of probable cause.

Fernandez and Medallada, however, were found administratively liable for Simple Misconduct and were meted the penalty of suspension for one (1) month and one (1) day.  The administrative complaint as against Arnan was dismissed for lack of substantial evidence, while that against De Padua and Martinez were dismissed for lack of administrative disciplinary jurisdiction, the two having separated from service in good faith prior to the filing of the complaint.

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