Bukidnon guv to seek TRO on Ombudsman’s suspension order

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Sep) – Suspended Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr., father of Senator Miguel Zubiri, said he will seek for a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Court of Appeals on the Ombudsman’s suspension order.

Zubiri, in an interview at the sideline of the “Sulong Pilipinas” event at the SMX Convention Center here Tuesday, said he will immediately seek for a TRO from the CA in Cagayan de Oro when he receives the copy of the decision of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

Morales found Zubiri guilty of “grave abuse of authority amounting to oppression and violation of Section 5(a) of the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act No. 6713)” for non-signing of the clearance and act on the request for commutation of complainant Carlos Ycaro, the former provincial assessor.

The governor said the decision was baseless since he was not governor from July 1, 2010 to June 2013 when the Ombudsman conducted its investigation in January 2013 but he maintained that Ycaro could not be cleared due to his unsettled obligation for the purchase of equipment that were not delivered.

He will also file for a motion for reconsideration before the Ombudsman on the case they filed against Ycaro regarding the anomalous purchase of equipment which were under his responsibility.

According to Zubiri, the complainant purchased 1,500 chairs worth P3.250 million and P8.1-million worth of sound system for the construction of the auditorium in Bukidnon.

“When they presented that to me, I told him I will not release it unless you settle your accounts first with the province. What happens, we just followed COA circular that we cannot release any funds or benefits to any retirees unless they have no accountability at all,” he said.

But Morales ruled that it “cannot serve as valid excuse to deny approval of his application for leave commutation, especially where he has more than 300 days in commutable leave credits.”

The Ombudsman stated Zubiri was also faulted for failing “to perform the mandate of Section 5(a) of R.A. No. 6713 by completely ignoring the two communications of complainant, addressed to his office.”

It said “grave abuse of authority or oppression is a misdemeanor committed by a public officer, who under color of his office, commits an act of cruelty, severity, unlawful exaction, domination or excessive use of authority.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)