Ombudsman wants charges dropped vs sacked city treasurer

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 28 2010 10:24 PM | Updated as of Dec 29 2010 06:24 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman is seeking the anti-graft court’s permission to withdraw 2 criminal charges against former Parañaque City treasurer Liberato Carabeo, claiming the indictments have no basis.

In a manifestation filed before the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division last December 10, Prosecution Bureau X Director Omar Sagadal and Assistant Special Prosecutor Lyn Dimayuga asked the anti-graft court to withdraw 2 informations for graft and falsification of public documents filed against the defendant in 2009.

The prosecutors said they found it necessary to recommend the dropping the charges “after a thorough review of the evidence”.

Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez approved their recommendation, which was endorsed last December 7 by the acting deputy special prosecutor.

Gutierrez, in a 34-page resolution issued on March 2007, ordered Carabeo’s dismissal on grounds of dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. He was also slapped the penalty of “perpetual disqualification” from holding public office.

The ruling was based on a complaint filed by the Department of Finance - Revenue Integrity Protection Service (DOF-RIPS), which accused Carabeo of amassing "unexplained wealth" based on alleged undeclared assets in his 2004 and 2005 statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

Ombudsman investigators said the respondent also owned several vehicles and real estate properties in Laguna that he could not have acquired legally on his annual gross salary of P291,036 as city treasurer.

But in their manifestation and motion to withdraw informations, prosecutors admitted that they belatedly found out that vehicles were not acquired all at once, and that these were subsequently sold to other people one after the other.

Prosecutors also attributed Carabeo’s failure to include the real estate properties in his SALNs to "inadvertence," and that it was not deliberate.

Carabeo rose from the ranks to reach the post of city treasurer. He started as a casual employee at the Municipal Treasurer’s Office in 1981.