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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, January 30, 2018
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OMB orders reply to
Silay brgy fund complaints

The Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) has ordered former Silay Mayor Jose Montelibano and two councilors to file their counter affidavits and other contravening evidence to complaints filed against them by a dismissed policeman.

Dante Escorpion, who had been dismissed from office by the Ombudsman,said at a press conference at the Negros Press Club in BacolodCity yesterday, that he had filed complaints against Montelibano and councilors Jose Lopez Jr. and EreneoCeles Jr. for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Malversation of Public Funds and Illegal Use of Public Funds or Property.

Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente, in his order, said he found enough basis to proceed with a criminal and administrative investigation of the cases thus the respondents were ordered to file their contravening evidence to the claims of Escorpion.

The complaints stemmed from allocation by the Silay City government of P1 million each as financial assistance to various barangays of Silay City from the Special projects Fund.

The amount was released following a Silay SP resolution declaring the city under a state of calamity due to widespread damage brought about by the El Niño phenomenon.

Escorpion, in his complaint, said that the financial assistance was supposed to be released directly to affected barangays but Montelibanocoursed the amounts through Lopez and Celis by issuing two Land Bank of the Philippines checks in the amount of P500,000 to each of them.

The government's money was unduly placed in the hands and unbridled disposal of the two councilors, which they took in cold cash from the bank, Escorpion said.

Montelibano, when sought for his reaction, called the complaint lodged by Escorpion political harassment, despite the fact that he is living a peaceful life outside of public office.

He had not committed any irregularity and will let the law take its course, Montelibano said.

Montelibano said a previous complaint filed against him by Escorpion had been dismissed.

The Office of the Ombudsman,in 2016, had ordered the dismissal of Escorpion and two other policemen from the service for grave misconduct charges.

They were charged by RamelBesinan for Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, in a criminal complaint for arbitrary detention and planting of evidence, the Ombudsman said in its dismissal order.

Escorpion said he has a pending appeal for his dismissal.*CPG



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