DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 Aug) – The missing mayor of the municipality of Talitay in Maguindanao, who has been in hiding after President Rodrigo Duterte named him as among the “narco-politicians” last year, was ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman for “serious dishonesty” stemming from his “untruthful statements” in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) in 2011, 2013, and 2014.
In a decision posted on its website Thursday, Talitay Mayor Montasir Sabal was also meted the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits.
The Ombudsman maintained that “the non-disclosure in respondent’s SALNs of the … real properties constitutes Serious Dishonesty as the acts were done fraudulently and were committed several times.”
Sabal, along with his brother Abdulwahab (the vice mayor), were among eight elected Maguindanao officials named by President Duterte a year ago as being involved in the drug trade. The mayor admitted involvement when he was still a policeman but stopped when he was elected as mayor. He was elected to his third term last year.
The Cotabato City-based ndbcnews.com reported that Mayor Sabal has been in hiding since November last year when police and military operatives raided his house in Talitay and found shabu and high-powered firearms. He was able to escape before the raiding team arrived at his place.
His brother was arrested after being accused of masterminding the bombing in Davao City September last year.
Mayor Sabal is also facing charges before the Sandiganbayan for three counts each of perjury, violations of Section 7 of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), and section 8 of RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) after failing to make a complete disclosure by not recognizing the residential lots owned by his wife and son.
The Ombudsman said Sabal “misrepresented the contents of his SALNs” for failure to disclose his ownership of five real estate properties located in Doña Luisa and Buhangin in Davao City and Cotabato City.
Section 7 of RA 3019 and Sec. 8 of RA 6713 require the filing of a true and detailed SALN by every public official declaring their assets, liabilities and net worth, financial and business interests during each year of their incumbency, the Ombudsman added.
“Failure to make a true and accurate declaration gives rise to criminal penalties as provided under Section 11 of R.A. No. 6713,” the Ombudsman said.
The decision explained that perjury is committed “when a person deliberately makes an untruthful statement upon any material matter in a document required by law to be sworn before any public officer.”
In a related development, Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur former mayor and now vice mayor Nacianceno Pacalioga Jr. was also ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman for falsification of official documents and serious dishonesty.
The Ombudsman’s decision said that the accused deliberately omitted several real properties from his SALN in 2011, 2012, and 2014.
Pacalioga reportedly failed to declare 10 parcels of land located in different barangays of Dumingag.
The Ombudsman then directed the Interior and Local Government secretary to implement penalties such as cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service.
It said it also found probable cause to indict the accused for three counts of perjury and three counts of violation of Section 8 in relation to Section 11 of the RA 6713.
But Pacalioga maintained that he did not need to declare “the real properties as he had already waived his rights over them in favor of the Dumingag United Subanen Association, Inc. and a certain Roel Dumayon prior to 2011.
The Ombudsman countered by saying it found the “documents questionable as the quitclaims do not mention any of the properties he is being accused of failing to declare.”
“The records of this case clearly show that respondent deliberately failed to declare his ownership of the real properties in his 2011, 2012, and 2014 SALNs,” the decision read.
It said incomplete declaration of respondent’s assets in his SALNs constitutes falsification while his deceptive acts qualify as “Serious Dishonesty.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)