Ex-asst ombudsman faces probe for 'tampering'

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 29 2011 03:15 PM | Updated as of Jun 30 2011 09:18 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) -  The Office of the Ombudsman has started to investigate a former aide of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez for alleged wrongdoing in office.

Over-all Deputy Ombudsman and Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro has filed a complaint and started an investigation against former Assistant Ombudsman for Luzon Mark Jalandoni.

Casimiro's spokesperson, Mary Rawnsle Lopez, said Jalandoni is  being investigated for charges of falsification of official documents and violation of Article 226 of the Revised Penal Code for the removal, concealment, or destruction of documents.

Casimiro is the complainant in the investigation which stems from Jalandoni's alleged tampering and superimposition of his signature on resolutions and decisions already acted upon by Casimiro to make it appear that he is the final approving authority.

"Tapal" is how Lopez described in Tagalog what Jalandoni did.

"It is a systematic superimposition of cut and paste. Ibig sabihin, may desisyon inaprubahan na. We're concentrating on fact na merong falsification."

Lopez said the discovery of the alleged tampering came about after Casimiro ordered the inventory of some 1,500 cases pending before the Ombudsman.   

"These cases were forwarded to us by when he assumed office as acting ombudsman. These were found at office of former deputy ombudsman for Luzon," he added.

Lopez said Casimiro filed the complaint as the head of the office, saying Casimiro "feels its is his duty to call for the investigation of the said matters."

Lopez said doubts have been raised as to the authenticity of the decisions.

He, however, could not say yet if Jalandoni reversed or tampered the substantial portions of the decisions. "More of the concern of acting ombudsman to charge those responsible for alteration. We want to hold former officials accountable."

Lopez also revealed that administrative charges have also been filed against Jalandoni's former staff who include former Assistant Ombudsman Nenette Morales-de Padua, Rosalyn Martinez, Grace Anne Arnan, Ruby Anne Medallada, and Amie Lou Fernandez.

"Kita mo sa resoluyon papatungan, pero kita mo meron namang pirma why was it done why did have to be done. Main question is why do you have to do it? Nagco-concentrate lang kami sa act of altering and tampering."

Casimiro has also likewise filed a disbarment complaint against Jalandoni and de Padua .

Lopez cannot say yet how many cases have been tampered, describing them only as a "mix of several resolutions and decisions."

He, however clarified that none of the affected so far discovered include any of the cases raised in the impeachment complaint against former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

Gutierrez was impeached by the House of Representatives in March for allegedly sitting on cases involving allies of former President and now Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

None of the cases involved  include cases pending before the Sandiganbayan.

Casimiro was recently interviewed by the Judicial and Bar Council for the position of Ombudsman, as he is an applicant.

Lopez said they have no knowledge where Jalandoni is now.

He described the case as an unprecedented development in the history of their office.

ABS-CBN News tried to contact Jalandoni by phone but there was no response. Text messages were also sent to him but there was no reply.