Speaker Nograles: He is also accountable
By ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte would not be spared by the Ombudsman and would also be facing suspension meted by the Ombudsman on three City Hall officials for the demolition of a park in Quezon Blvd.
Duterte has also been named as a respondent to the case and Speaker Prospero Nograles said he could be held accountable for the destruction of government property worth P2 million. The case against Duterte, city administrator Wendel Avisado, city engineer Jesus Gestuveo and drainage maintainance unit chief Yusop Jimlani was triggered by the demolition by the city engineering office of Nograles park, named after the Speaker’s father, in October last year. City Hall alleged the park built over a main drain clogged drainage causing floods in the area.
It will come later, Nograles told local media.
Avisado has dared Nograles to a public debate over the case, to be organized by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
Nograles is a bar topnotcher. I am a numberless passer but I dare him to a debate, said Avisado on local radio.
Avisado said the Ombudsman order suspending him, Gestuveo and Jimlani could have arrived with Nograles using his political clout. This is “a blatant, arrogant and naked display of power” by the Speaker.
I was not informed of the case. I was not asked to file a counter affidavit, said Avisado as he denounced the suspension.
Atty. Karlo Nograles, son and chief-of-staff of the Speaker, dismissed Avisado’s dare, saying it would do the city administrator if he should debate his case before the Ombudsman, and later at the Sandiganbayan.
The young Nograles said it was not the House Speaker but the Ombudsman that suspended the city hall officials.
“The Speaker was the aggrieved party in the case where city officials showed their blatant, arrogant and naked display of power,” Karlo said, repeating the same adjectives Avisado leveled against the Speaker. “The Speaker went to the court to seek redress which is the correct and legal way to do.”
In an Ombdusman Order dated 18 June 2009, Avisado, Jimlani and Gestuveo were placed under preventive suspension for six months without pay.
Under Sec. 24 of the RA 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989), “the Ombudsman or his Deputy may preventively suspend any officer or employee under his authority pending an investigation, if in his judgment the evidence of guilt is strong, and a) the charge against such officer or employee involves dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or neglect in the performance of duty; b) the charges would warrant removal from the service; or c) the respondent’s continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him.”