Ombudsman dismisses Cotabato Gov. Catamco’s graft case

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 12 Feb) – The Ombudsman has dismissed for lack of evidence the graft complaint filed against Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco.

Catamco, in the file sheet, was named Nancy Perez, being then married to Pompey M. Perez, who was also among the nine accused under Criminal Case Number SB-190CRM-010 and OMB-C-C-16-0381.

The case stemmed from a transaction with the local government of Siquijor in Central Visayas sometime in 2004 deemed by the complainant as violation of Section (c) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The dismissal, the document showed, was in compliance with the resolution the Fourth Division of the Sandiganbayan promulgated on September 26, 2019 that directed a preliminary investigation of the case.

The resolution was signed by Rayman L. Rafael, assistant special prosecutor II; and Tirso Q. Vargas, assistant special prosecutor I, of the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman has also recommended that the information filed with the Sandiganbayan be amended by deleting the name, “Nancy Perez.”

Catamco, before she became the province’s second district representative in 2010, was the chief executive officer of Perez Bros Company that was engaged in supplying farm or agricultural products.

Aside from Catamco, included in the charge sheet were Orville Ano-os Fua, Ana Marie Sumalpong-Monte, Rose Marie Villacampa Tomogsoc, Iva Ypil Marchan, Nutalio Bungcawel Jumayan, Sue Agnes Castillon, Teodoro Jumadla Jr., and Pompey Perez.

The document, however, showed that the Ombudsman has only cited Catamco’s name in the dismissal.

Lawyer Nicholas “Nicky” Marasigan, Cotabato provincial administrator, has clarified that the dismissed case was not the one that caused the suspension of Catamco for three months last year.

Such case, Marasigan explained, is still pending in the Sandiganbayan.

Catamco’s lawyers received the document, which was dated January 20, 2020, on Tuesday.

Catamco has yet to read the document as she was busy attending to post-disaster projects for quake victims in the province., according to Marasigan.

Catamco, in a phone interview, said she felt vindicated with the Ombudsman’s decision.

“Nabunutan ako ng tinik,” (I was relieved) the governor said. “Because of the decision, we can now implement our plans for the province of Cotabato,” the governor added.

She also thanked her supporters for their prayers. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)