Graft cases vs. village officials rise in poll run up

Lawyer Humprey Monteroso, deputy ombudsman for Mindanao told reporters Monday at the Kapihan sa SM City press conference that since May, cases filed against village officials have increased at an average of 10 per day.

He said the complaints filed, mostly for alleged grave abuse of authority and malversation, have topped the number of cases filed against officials of municipal, city and provincial government units and national agencies.

Monteroso could not give the exact number of cases as of October 2007 but noted that based on previous records, about 30% will likely prosper as the remaining 70% are purely political propaganda and harassment.

Aside from barangay captains, barangay treasurers are also among those sued.

In the run-up to the May 14, 2007 polls the Ombudsman reported a significant increase in the number of graft cases filed against incumbent officials in Mindanao. The number of criminal and administrative cases filed doubled in 2006 from approximately 200 cases filed every month in 2005.

In 2006, elective officials composed majority of the respondents in at least 450 cases filed as of December, the Office of the Ombudsman said in an earlier interview.

Monteroso said 65 percent of the complaints filed against government officials and personnel at the Ombudsman are against local government and barangay officials.

Anyone can file a complaint at their office but they sift the cases first for evidence before referring it to the agencies such as the Commission on Audit, Civil Service Commission, the National Bureau of Investigation.

The deputy Ombudsman's office said earlier that number of cases significantly go do down after the elections.

Monteroso announced they are holding on October 19 the Davao roadshow of the National Anti-Corruption Program of Action, an initiative of  both private and public anti-corruption efforts in the country through the Multi-Sectoral Anti-Corruption Council