Documents on Montilla plunder case fake

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Friday, July 11, 2014

SIPALAY City Legal Officer Elmer Balbin said the documents that supposedly came from the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas distributed to media outlets late Wednesday afternoon about an order directing Mayor Oscar Montilla to submit his counter-affidavit to a plunder complaint were fake.

“The documents were faked to mislead and deceive, not only the media, but also the people of Sipalay,” Balbin told reporters in a press conference Thursday.

Balbin showed the documents received by his office bearing the complaint number “OMB-V-C-14-0120” with the attached Page 2 consisting of the affidavit of Theodore Banderado, graft investigation and prosecution officer I of the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas Regional Office.


The one distributed to the media with the same complaint number “OBM-V-C-14-0120” has an attached Page 2 which is supposedly a letter from the Office of the Ombudsman addressed to Leodegario G. Gonzales III, president, Magdalo sa Pagbabago, stating that the fact-finding investigation on the captioned case (Rodolfo Divinagracia vs Oscar Montilla) has been completed with the approval of a Final Evaluation Report (FER) dated February 25, 2014.

It further stated that a preliminary investigation will soon follow.

The original documents Balbin showed to reporters on Thursday coming from the Ombudsman has 60 pages.

The fake documents had only six pages which included a letter of Divinagracia to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to inquire about the status of the plunder case he had filed against Montilla as well as a letter from Commission on Audit Regional Director Evelyn Reyes dated March 28, 2014 assuring Divinagracia that an audit report on the construction of the Government Center in Sipalay will be furnished to him.

Balbin said the alleged plunder case against Montilla filed several years ago by Divinagracia was not acted upon by the Ombudsman.

Balbin said the act of attaching separate documents to the Ombudsman order is aimed to project that the mayor is facing a plunder case which is not true.

He noted that they received the order Wednesday afternoon and will answer it although the said order of the Ombudsman has already been complied with.

Balbin explained that the Ombudsman order is in connection with the suspension of several Sipalay City officials which Divinagracia claimed was not implemented.

Ordered suspended for three months without pay after the Ombudsman found them guilty of negligence in the performance of official duties in connection with the purchase of overpriced medicines were City Accountant Eva Sabusap, City Budget Officer Fernando Balbin, City Health Officer Noel Villanueva, City Treasurer Renato Manilla, and Revenue Collection Officer Evangeline Seneres.

"The mayor has already implemented the suspension of the four city department heads on January 2012 to March 2012 and we have already submitted a compliance to the Ombudsman," Balbin said.

He added: "We are in the process of investigating who are the perpetrators behind these act of misleading the public. We will file civil and criminal charges against them.”

Balbin said Montilla feels bad that his detractors are engaging in such dirty tricks.

"This is early politicking," the lawyer said.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 11, 2014.

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