The Office of Governance Accountability and Review (OGAR) is set to file administrative charges against a provincial government official for alleged corrupt practices, marking the first breakthrough in the Aumentado administration’s anti-corruption drive.
OGAR chairman Leoncio Evasco, Jr. announced in a press briefing on Friday that administrative charges for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and commission of an act punishable by the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act will be filed against the official.
“Malipayon mi na mo report ninyo na naa na gyud mi file-an og kaso. Ang ebidensya ani mao niy among gipaningkamutan og utingkay-utingkay,” said Evasco.
Meanwhile, the OGAR is already preparing another administrative case against another Capitol official which will be filed “soon.”
“After ana, naa na puy mosunod. Immediately after, mo sunod na pud ning usa,” he said.
Evasco however did not name the officials and divulge the details of the violations pending their receipt of the notification on the allegations against them.
Governor Aris Aumentado, who was catapulted to victory in the 2022 gubernatorial polls partly due to his anti-corruption platform, established OGAR immediately after assuming his post in July last year tasking it to dig up anomalous transactions under previous and current administrations and file cases against those involved.
According to retired provincial prosecutor Macario Delusa, one of the six OGAR members, they lodged the complaints before the provincial government particularly the Office of the Governor.
OGAR also has the option of filing the administrative cases before the Office of the Ombudsman or the Civil Service Commission but chose the provincial government for swift action on the matter.
“Ang findings sa OGAR isubmit ni sa opisina sa governor unya makita niya na dunay basehan gyud na kining empleyado ma file-an og kaso,” said Delusa.
Retired regional trial court judge Suceso Arcamo also believes that filing an administrative case instead of a criminal case would yield faster results.
“Administrative ang among gipili kay gusto mi og paspas na action. Paspas na resulta. Kay og e-agi nato sa Ombudsman, abtan pa ta og siyam-siyam,” said Arcamo.
He added that an administrative case only requires a preponderance of evidence, the second level in the quanta of proof, while a criminal case requires a proof beyond reasonable doubt, the highest in the hierarchy of evidence.
However, he noted that this does not mean that criminal cases will not be filed against the alleged corrupt government employee.
“Unahin ning administrative case then probably kung unsay recommendation pwede na namo isunod ang kaso sa anti-graft kay naa na may basehan,” Arcamo added.
Delusa noted that the OGAR is merely a fact-finding body tasked to gather evidence and build up cases and it has no prosecutorial authority.
After the filing of the administrative complaint, Aumentado may create an investigative panel which will look into the allegations and submit recommendations to the governor to either impose sanctions or acquit the accused.
“Ang decision sa governor based sa recommendation as body na gi-create sa governor,” said Delusa. (A. Doydora)