DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The Office of the Ombudsman suspends Mayor Montaser Sabal of Talitay, Maguindanao, for one year, after he was found guilty of Gross Neglect of Duty for failure to implement an anti-drugs programs in his municipality.
Sabal was among those identified by President Rodrigo Duterte as “narco-politicians” on August 7, 2016.
Records show that Sabal failed to disclose substantial properties and business interests in his 2011 to 2015 Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs), including 14 firearms, four high-end vehicles and business interests in general merchandise, construction supplies, and accessories.
The Ombudsman also found that Sabal failed to secure the permission of the governor for his overseas travels from 2010 to 2016.
Sabal was also faulted for failing to initiate and propose legislative measures to the Sanggunian for the municipality’s anti-illegal drugs program as mandated under Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) as re-echoed in Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Memorandum Circular No. 2015-63.
As attested by Municipal Budget Officer Charity Tampoco and Municipal Treasurer Norodin Samaon, the municipality never allocated budget for the anti-illegal drugs program from 2010 to 2015, hence, not a single-activity geared towards the curtailment of illegal drugs in the same period took place.
The Ombudsman’s Decision cited Section 51 of R.A. No. 9165 which states “that local government units should appropriate a substantial portion of their respective annual budgets to assist in or enhance the enforcement of the law, giving priority to preventive or educational programs and the rehabilitation or treatment of drug dependents.” Meantime, DILG Circular No. 2015-63 provides that “the failure to so appropriate shall be a ground for an administrative case for dereliction of duty against concerned local officials and the disapproval of the local annual budget on review.”
Neglect of Duty is the failure to give proper attention to a required task. It signifies disregard of duty due to carelessness or indifference. Where the breach of duty is flagrant and palpable, as in this case, the negligence is gross.
The Ombudsman directed the DILG Secretary to implement the decision.-Jiann A. Padillo/Newsline.ph
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