Negros gov dismissed for calamity fund misuse

Danny B. Dangcalan - The Philippine Star

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Re-elected Vice Gov. Edward Mark Macias of Negros Oriental assumed as governor on Friday after the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed Gov. Roel Degamo in connection with a case involving misuse of calamity funds.

Macias was named governor after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) served the dismissal order on Degamo at past 4 p.m.

DILG-Negros Island Region acting director Margie Biligan served the order, even as Degamo refused to accept it.

Degamo said he did not receive a copy of the Ombudsman’s decision. He refused to step down, saying the implementation of the order was illegal.

Biligan was accompanied by DILG provincial director Dennis Quiñones in serving the order. They were escorted by at least 100 police officers, led by Senior Superintendent Harris Fama, Negros Oriental police director.

Hundreds of Degamo’s supporters blocked the main door of the provincial capitol to prevent the DILG officials from serving the order.

The DILG officials were able to serve the order, as Degamo’s men – including assistant provincial administrator Froilan Pinili and lawyers Justo Paras, Nevino Cardente and Jose Baldado – met them.

After posting the decision on the capitol’s wall, Biligan proceeded to the Royal Suites Inn in Barangay Bantayan, Dumaguete City to witness the oathtaking of Macias as governor.

Macias took his oath before Regional Trial Court Judge Gerardo Paguio Jr.

Degamo’s dismissal stemmed from a complaint filed by a certain June Vincente Manuel Gaudan of Barangay Taclobo, Dumaguete City for malversation of public funds and grave misconduct.

Gaudan accused Degamo of misusing P480-million in calamity funds in 2012, after Typhoon Sendong devastated the province.

In a resolution dated March 16, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales dismissed Degamo, provincial treasurer Danilo Mendez and accountant Teodorico Reyes for grave misconduct.

The Ombudsman found probable cause to file malversation and graft charges against the respondents.

Morales ordered the filing of 11 counts of malversation through falsification and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Degamo for proceeding with the awarding of 11 infrastructure projects amounting to P143.2 million despite lack of funds. – With Freeman News Service

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