LGUs have most number of graft cases in Mindanao

Violan, also chief of the Public Assistance Unit of the Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao, told participants in Thursday's conference that from 1988 to June 17, 2004, a total fo 19,146 administrative and criminal cases were filed against LGU personnel around Mindanao's 25 provinces and 27 citeis. About 75% of these cases, however, were dismissed.

Municipal and city councilors topped the list of  LGU personnel with nearly 2,500 facing charges before the Ombudsman from 1989 to 2003,  based on a bar graph Violan showed to MindaNews.

Closely following the councilors are mayors, barangay captains, teachers, and school principals.

The list also ranked from fifth to tenth places barangay councilors, treasurers, police officers, regional directors, accountants, and vice mayors.

Of the top ten cases filed before the Ombudsman's Office in Mindanao, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act topped, at 6,052 cases; followed by malversation (1,709 cases) and falsification (1,352 cases). This was followed by misconduct and grave misconduct (1,067 cases), violations against Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards  (914 cases), dishonesty (508 cases), estafa (498 cases), abuse of authority and grave abuse (459 cases), negligence and neglect of duty (264 cases) and physical injuries (261).

Among the acts that constitute graft and corrupt practices are “persuading another public officer to perform an act constituting an offense or violation of rules and regulations, allowing himself to be persuaded, requesting or receiving gift, present, share, percentage or benefits in connection with any contract or transaction, and requesting or receiving any gift, present, or any benefit for any help given or to be given in securing or obtaining any government permit or license.”

Violan told MindaNews on June 30 that one of the factors why the LGUs top the list is because it has the most number of personnel compared with other sectors.

Following the LGUs are the Department of Education with 3,659 cases involving its personnel and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with 2,309 cases.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) ranked fourth with 1,494 cases; Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) with 1,221 cases; the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) with 753 and Department of Agriculture with 465.

The DepEd cases involve not only administrative staff but also teachers, Violan said.

Violan said that from 2004 to May 2006, LGUs and DepEd continued to top the list of agencies with the most number of personnel with graft cases.

But Violan said 77 percent or 12,118 of the 16,212 criminal cases filed before the Ombudsman   from 1988 to May 2006 were dismissed. Only 23 percent or 3,687 were heard in either Sandiganbayan or the regular courts.

In the same period, 86 percent of the total 5,556 administrative cases were dismissed and only 774 of the cases led to punishment.  (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)