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Ombudsman junks case filed vs Tampakan IPMR

Indigenous People Mandatory Representative Domingo Collado Jr. of the Municipality of Tampakan, in South Cotabato has scored victory against complaints filed against him before the Office of the Ombudsman.

In a decision dated February 26, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Jay Visto dismissed the criminal and administrative complaints against Collado, citing lack of probable cause and substantial evidence.

The case stemmed from a joint complaint affidavit filed by Bong Fulung Romando Sen, Fulung Jimmy Malayon and several barangay tribal leaders on September 28, 2022, accusing Collado of corruption practices, abuse of authority, dishonesty, and grave misconduct, in connection with the disbursement of fund during the annual festival celebration of the indigenous cultural communities in 2019.

The group also accused Collado of showing preference for the interest of the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) over the interest of the municipality. SMI is the assignee of mining rights entered into with the national government for the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project.

Collado, in his counter-affidavit, asserted that the complaint filed against him was a harassment suit in a bid to remove him from office.

In his resolution, Visto said complainants failed to discharge their burden of proof, noting that both the respondent and the Municipal Tribal Council signed the resolution allowing the disbursement of the fund for the catering obligations incurred during the activity.

“Complainants’ allegation that the amount of P77.541.00 was respondents’ personal obligation is without any convincing proof…. The same true with the allegation that the P42,000.00 was used to pay the personal expenses of the respondent… again, there is no proof that public fund was used to pay the said amount,” the decision read.

The Ombudsman further stated that advocating for an act allowed by the national government, while beneficial to SMI, “can hardly be considered malicious act of partiality.”

“In the instant case, complainants failed to show that graft or corruption actually transpired… By parity of reasoning, the administrative case is also dismissed,” the Ombudsman ruled.

Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Anderson Lo signed and approved the findings on March 13.

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