MANILA- The Ombudsman has found probable cause to indict former Naga City, Cebu mayor Valdemar Chiong for graft for the questionable issuance of a business permit.
Chiong was also found guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty which results into his disqualification from public office.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said since Chiong is no longer mayor, his penalty is converted into a fine equivalent to his one-year salary.
The Ombudsman said records show that Chiong issued a 2014 business permit to a liquefied petroleum gas wholesaler, Petronas Energy Philippines, despite the company's failure to present its fire safety inspection certificate.
Chiong claimed that he only issued a “conditional” permit as he had to act and use his discretion in addressing Petronas’ pending application pursuant to his power, the Ombudsman said.
The Ombudsman, in a resolution, said Chiong's act violated the Fire Code of the Philippines that prevents businesses from operating without a fire safety inspection certificate.