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Degamo reacts on ‘dismissal'

Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo said he cannot “intelligently reply” to what was posted on social media about his impending dismissal reportedly following the Ombudsman's denial of his motion for reconsideration of the first joint resolution, due to lack of merit.

 

The first resolution, dated Jan. 12, 2016, found probable cause against him, provincial treasurer Danilo Mendez and provincial accountant Teodorico Reyes for malversation of public funds and grave misconduct.

Degamo said he was surprised to be informed that the opposing camp already has a copy of another resolution that contains the denial of his motion for reconsideration, and that it was posted on the Facebook account of Board Member Jessica Koppin Villanueva, who is not a party to the case, but received a copy June 6, while respondent-movants, including that of two others, did not receive their copies yet.

The governor said this jibes with the pronouncements made by his detractors that its useless voting for him because he cannot sit as the newly-elected governor due to another dismissal order which will come out after the election and which was released May 16, 2016 by the graft investigator in-charge.

Degamo could only say that his opponents are very confident and aware of another dismissal order that will come after the elections, to prevent him from assuming office. He said his opponents already knew of the favorable decision from the Ombudsman a day after the election last month.

What is highly surprising is that two board members, one from the first district and the other from the second district are already asking the Comelec to compute who among them has the highest number of votes vis-à-vis the total number of registered voters in their districts even without the results from Jimalalud, which encountered a problem.

Under the law on succession, as soon as the vice governor takes over the governor's position, the board member with the highest number of votes will take over as vice governor.

But Degamo said more than 300,000 Negrenses who voted for him will never allow these “hungry” politicians from taking over his position without a fight.

Degamo's legal counsel, Richard Enojo, also expressed surprise upon hearing that the Ombudsman reversed its original order dated Jan. 16, 2016, which says that the penalty of dismissal against Degamo may no longer be imposed in view of his re-election as governor in 2013.

The joint order, dated May 16, 2016, reads: “Complainant-movant's motion (referring to June Vincent Manuel Gaudan), is granted in view of the Supreme Court's abandonment of the condonation doctrine in the case of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr.”

But Enojo explained the Binay case cannot be made as basis in the abandonment of the Aguinaldo Doctrine against Degamo because the case was filed by Gaudan in 2012 yet and he was re-elected governor in 2013. The efficacy of the abandonment of the Aguinaldo Doctrine should not be retroactive, he pointed out.

As to claims the governor was not re-elected in 2013, Enojo said Degamo was voted as the number one board member in the third district in 2010, became vice governor and governor in 2012, following the deaths of Perdices and Macias, and was re-elected in 2013 as governor, thus his administrative liability was extinguished under the Aguinaldo Doctrine.

That year, the Binay case was not yet decided.

Degamo's camp is of the belief that the Ombudsman failed to appreciate what Enojo considered as a “very explosive” evidence wherein the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Office of Civil Defense in Region 7 have identified the provincial government as the competent agency to implement the projects funded by the P480 million calamity fund, to comply with provisions of DPWH Order No. 6.

These documents were submitted to Malacañang being the funding agency, but as to whether or not Malacañang has forwarded the same to Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary Mario Relampagos, Enojo said that is not anymore their problem.

The so-called explosive evidence showed documents that the issuance of a negative Special Allotment Release Order didn't have any legal effect because it was already withdrawn by the Notice of Cash Allocation, citing a Supreme Court ruling on the PDAF and DAP which says that when an NCA is issued, the fund shall stay with the beneficiary local government unit, which is Negros Oriental.

Meanwhile, as soon as Degamo, Mendez and Reyes received their copies of the joint resolution, they will file an appeal before the Court of Appeals with prayer for a temporary restraining order due to what they considered as wrong application of the Aguinaldo Doctrine and misappreciation of evidence and arguments.

The order may be immediately executory, but it doesn't mean respondents have no right to elevate the same to a higher court, Enojo stressed.*JG

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