Mayors, barangay captains top respondents to graft charges in Mindanao
DAVAO CITY – Barangay captains and municipal and city mayors top the list of common positions involved in complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao, according to a report of the deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Friday.Humprey Monteroso, deputy ombudman for Mindanao, showed in his report that for the period 1999 to 2006 the two positions occupy the top ranks of number of cases as around 65 percent of personnel involved with cases at the anti-graft body belonged to local government units (LGUs).
Monteroso presented his report during a program for the 19th anniversary of the Office of the Ombudsman, created an independent body under the Philippine Constitution in 1988.
Next to barangay captains and municipal or city mayors, barangay councilors follow in at third; municipal councilors, teachers, municipal treasurers, regional directors, accountants, barangay treasurers, and members of provincial boards.
The Office of the Ombudsman Mindanao told MindaNews in July 2006 that among the factors why the positions occupy the top ten is the number of personnel employed in those positions.
Last year, the Ombudsman told MindaNews the municipal and city councilors topped the list of LGU personnel with nearly 2,500 facing charges before the Ombudsman from 1989 to 2003, based on a bar graph Violan showed to MindaNews.
Closely following the councilors are mayors, barangay captains, teachers, and school principals. The list also ranked from fifth to tenth places barangay councilors, treasurers, police officers, regional directors, accountants, and vice mayors.
Next to the local government units in the list of agencies where most personnel with complaints come from is the Department of Education with 13 percent, Department of Environment and Natural Resources with 8 percent, Philippine National Police with 5 percent, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Agrarian Reform with 3 percent and the Department of Agriculture with 2 percent.
Monteroso said the top offense is against Republic Act 3019 or the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; falsification, malversation, misconduct and grave misconduct, violations against Republic 6713 or the Code of Ethics and Unexplained Wealth, dishonesty, violation of the other provisions of Revised Penal Code, estafa, negligence and neglect of duty, and conduct prejudicial.
Monteroso told MindaNews the figure calls for more education among government officials as he cited that a big number of those accused especially in the barangay level are just ignorant of procedures.
He said a number of those who were found to have violated against graft laws take the short cut of procedures, citing the example of bidding processes.
Monteroso told MindaNews apart from vigilance of the public against graft and corrupt practices, they are also looking at installing non-organic resident ombudsmen in local government units to raise awareness of the public against corruption.
He said once people in the community realize someone is watching and trying to raise public awareness against graft and corruption, they would be encouraged and emboldened to be more vigilant.
He said they have 271 resident ombudsmen in towns, cities and provinces around Mindanao.
Mindanao has 27 provinces, 27 cities and 422 towns. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)