Ombudman indicts Maguindanao mayor for SALN violations

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DAVAO CITY,  Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to indict Talitay, Maguindanao Mayor Montaser Sabal for five counts each of violation of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act .

Sabal was cited for  his untruthful statements in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) from 2011 to 2015.

Records showed that Sabal misrepresented the contents of his SALNs as he failed to disclose his ownership of 13 firearms; four vehicles including a Hummer, Ford Ranger Pick-Up, Toyota Land Cruiser, and Toyota Hilux; and four business interests located in Datu Odin Sinsuat and Talitay, Maguindanao.  Respondent also failed to disclose the purchase price of each real property mentioned in his SALNs.

In his Counter-Affidavit, respondent claimed that the non-declaration of his firearms was inadvertently omitted by his staff member who filed his SALNs. He also asserted that the businesses are small ventures and that the vehicles were acquired thru a chattel mortgage, hence, unnecessary to be included in the SALNs.

The Ombudsman Resolution explained that “the law on SALN is clear that all assets of a public officer, including those of his or her spouse, must be declared. There is no mention that where the value of the property was insignificant or the mode of acquisition was by loan, the declarant has the option not to disclose.”-Jiann A. Padillo/Newsline.

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