Cam Norte Gov indicted for Usurpation of Authority and Official Functions | The FENIX Files

tallado indicted

Camarines Norte, Bicol, PH (January 20, 2018) – The Office of the Ombudsman has found probable cause against Governor Edgardo A. Tallado of Camarines Norte, for violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code which the corresponding Information will be filed against Tallado before the Sandiganbayan.

The Ombudsman Resolution was emanated from the complaint docketed as OMB-L-C-16-0321 for Usurpation of Authority and Official Functions filed by Edgardo S. Gonzales the former  Provincial Veterinarian of the Provincial Government of Camarines Norte which was illegally removed by Tallado from his office.

Investigators from the Ombudsman’s Graft Investigation and Prosecution Office found that Tallado was suspended from public service for one (1) year effective October 27, 2015, pursuant to the October 2, 2015 Order of the Office of the Ombudsman finding Tallado administratively liable for Grave Abuse of Authority. Tallado immediately re-assumed his office as Governor of Camarines Norte upon receipt of the May 12, 2016 Decision of the Court of Appeals which reduced the penalty to six (6) months, on the theory that the CA Decision should be deemed immediately executory and he had already fully served the reduced penalty of suspension. On consideration, however, the CA restored the penalty of suspension to one (1) year, recognizing the disciplinary authority of the Ombudsman and its power to impose sanctions on erring public officers.

The Ombudsman also found that Tallado cannot claim that he assumed his post under color of authority or he acted in good faith. He was well aware that he could not immediately re-assume his post as Governor upon his receipt of the May 12, 2016 CA Decision, otherwise, he would not have moved for its execution pending reconsideration, Ombudsman said.

Likewise, the Ombudsman also said that Tallado was aware that he could not discharge the functions of the Governor of Camarines Norte, his re-election notwithstanding, in view of  his one (1) year suspension. Otherwise, he would not have inquired from the DILG the applicability of Section 66(b) of Republic Act No. 7160, the  Ombudsman added.

Further, the Ombudsman also discussed that the DILG advised Tallado that he may assume his office as Governor of Camarines Norte unless otherwise directed by the Office of the Ombudsman or other competent authorities, in recognition of the fact that the duration of the penalty of suspension for one (1) year is based on the rules prescribed by the Office of the Ombudsman and not by Section 66(b) of R.A. No. 7160.

On the other hand, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Norte, gave Tallado authority to sign in all the financial transactions of the province with its depository banks based on the initial advice given by the DILG. Despite the June 27, 2016 letter  of the Office of the Ombudsman, informing DILG that respondent Tallado’s suspension shall be for one (1) year and the subsequent directive of DILG OIC – Regional Director Pastor, in her August 5, 2016 Order, for respondent Tallado to desist from performing the  functions of the Governor of Camarines Norte until the expiration of his suspension, respondent Tallado continued to discharge the  functions of the Governor which he knew he could not perform, Ombudsman mentioned.

The Ombudsman ruled and the Order was signed on May 3, 2017 by Maria Luisa L. Villanueva, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II; on May 4, 2017 it was reviewed by Joaquin F. Salazar, Director of the Preliminary Investigation, Administrative Adjudication and Prosecution Bureau A; on June 23, 2017 the Order was concurred by Gil Felix A. Hidalgo, OIC, Assistant Ombudsman for Luzon; on June 27, 2017 it was recommended for approval by Gerard A. Mosquera, Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon and the Order was finally approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on January 9, 2018. TFF/RIF ###

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