Ombudsman dismisses charges against Mt Province ex- mayor

>> Monday, March 7, 2016

Filed by Mt Province PNP chief  in Paracelis standoff 

PARACELIS, Mountain Province – The Office of the Ombudsman has cleared charges against a former mayor here for charges arising from an illegal search of a house allegedly owned by the town’s top executive which led to barricades and a standoff between the mayor’s men and police.     
Cleared was former mayor Avelino C. Amangyen for two charges filed by then police provincial director William W. Viteno for violation of Presidential Decree No. 1829 and Ernesto Gunday and Joyce Viteno for violation of Section 3(g) of Republic Act. No. 3019 for grave misconduct, dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service docketed as OMB-L-C-0514 & OMB-L-A-12-0597.
Copies of the dismissal papers on charges reached headquarters of the Amangyen for Mayor Movement recently.
“This is timely to clear our name, hence we are seeking again the mayoralty post of Paracelis” said Amangyen.
Viteno filed his complaint on May 31, 2012 while Gunday and Joyce Viteno filed their complaint on May 24, 2012 during the incumbency of then Mayor Amangyen.
After two years of court promulgation and litigation, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales dismissed the cases on Dec. 23.
A copy of the dismissal order signed Nov. 4, 2015 by Anjuli Larla A. Tan-eneran, graft investigation and prosecution officer and Adoracion A. Agbada of the Office of the Ombudsman and Morales was furnished to the Northern Philippine Times.
In his compliant, Viteno said  a search warrant was issued based on information that respondent Amangyen was keeping a stockpile of narra lumber inside his furniture shop in Sitio Pataga, Poblacion, Paracelis.
Viteno then coordinated with officials of Barangay Poblacion to act as witnesses to the search.
While the confiscation of the lumber was underway, Amangyen allegedly arrived and negotiated for the confiscation of only a part of the stockpile, which complainant refused.
Thereafter, the barangay officials left the site without witnessing the confiscation. When complainant and his men were about to transport some of the confiscated lumber to the police station, they learned that barricades and spikes were placed along the road by respondent’s sympathizers to block their way.
Viteno, in his complaint thus instructed his men to stand guard over the remaining lumber until they could be transported.
Early in the morning of the next day, a group of around 100 men allegedly led by respondent appeared, swarmed the furniture shop and started taking  away the remaining lumber to an undisclosed location.
Complainant could do nothing since he and his men were reportedly outnumbered. Once all the lumber was gone, complainant asked respondent to clear the road and allow them to leave, which respondent acceded to.
To corroborate his allegations against respondent, Viteno submitted sworn statements of police officers and photographs showing the barricades and spikes placed along the road.
Amangyen denied the allegations, averring the following: he did not own the furniture shop searched by complainant and his men; said furniture shop was actually owned and operated by Johnny B. Cailin (Cailin;) the search of the furniture shop was improper and irregular since the search warrant was issued in his respondent) name and not in the name of Cailin; he was there because Cailin sought his assistance; despite being informed on who the actual owner of the shop was, Viteno and his men still continued in taking away the lumber; and complainant’s men tried to compel the barangay officials to sign their accomplishment report even prior to conducting the search.
Amangyen said he did not know that a number of civilians had gathered around the shop. He later learned that said group of civilians were the individual owners of the forest products inside the shop; he was not around when the civilians allegedly blocked the road and he only came to know of the blockade when he went back to the shop and saw the fallen trees along the road.
The complaint was dismissed for insufficiency of evidence since complainant failed to prove the following: first, the ownership by respondent of the furniture shop where the narra lumber was stockpiled; second, the validity and regularity of the conducted search; and third, that respondent was the one who amassed the group of civilians and instructed them to block the road and take away the lumber that remained in the shop.
“It then follows that since respondent was not the owner of the furniture shop, as indeed borne out by the records, then the issued search warrant in respondent’s name was defective and the conducted search was invalid. Complainant did not even submit to this Office the purported search warrant used to conduct the search of the furniture shop and confiscate the lumber found therein.
“On the other hand, respondent was able to adequately explain his presence in the furniture shop i.e., in response to the plea for assistance from Cailin, the shop owner. Considering further that respondent’s defenses remained unrefuted and complainant failed to prove that respondent was the one responsible for the acts of the group of civilians, the present complaint against respondent necessarily fails.

“Wherefore, the complaint for Violation of Section 1(b) of Presidential Decree No. 1829 filed against Avelino C. Amangyen is dismissed for insufficiency of evidence,” The Ombudsman said.


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