Grave Misconduct

MANILA, Philippines --- The Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) has found suspended Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and five other provincial officials guilty of grave misconduct in connection with the alleged anomalous purchase of the Balili Estate in 2008, it was announced yesterday.

The administrative case was in addition to the graft and corruption charges Garcia is facing before the Sandidganbayan arising from the same controversy.

Aside from Garcia, the OMB also found Juan Bolo, member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cebu; Anthony Sususco, Roy Salubre, and Eulogio Pelayre, members of the Provincial Appraisal Committee; and Emme Gingoyon, Provincial Budget Officer, guilty of the same administrative offense.

In a 26-page decision signed last January 25, OMB Chair Conchita Carpio Morales declared that the administrative liability of Garcia and Bolo "has been mooted by their reelection in the 2010 National and Local Elections" while Sususco, Salubre, Pelayre and Gingoyon were meted the penalty of dismissal from the service, together with its accessory penalties.

The case stemmed from three separate complaints filed by the OMB-Visayas in connection with the purchase by the Cebu Provincial Government of the more than 249,000 square-meter Balili estate worth some P99 million.