MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has suspended Toledo City Mayor John Henry Osmeña for a year for his failure to remit P17.7 million in real property tax shares to a village in his city.
In a statement, the Ombudsman said Osmeña is set to face trial before the Sandiganbayan after it found probable cause to charge him with six counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Ombudsman found Osmeña guilty of grave abuse of authority for his "consistent and undue refusal" to release P17,733,264.80 to Barangay Daanglungsod, the total amount of its quarterly real property tax shares for 2014 and 2015.
Defending his actions, Osmeña had claimed in his counter-affidavit that there a boundary dispute between Barangay Daanglungsod and Barangay Sangi in his city was pending before the Court of Appeals. He said “it is his duty to protect government funds and properties.”
The Ombudsman, however, found out that the Sangguniang Panglungsod, which has jurisdiction over boundary disputes, already settled the issue in 2008.
“Respondent’s bad faith becomes evident when despite the foregoing circumstances, Osmeña, without basis, withheld the release of the real property tax shares of the Barangay Daanlungsod which caused the latter undue injury,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said in a statement.
She directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government to implement the suspension order.