• CA affirms dismissal of Zaldy Ampatuan

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    The Court of Appeals (CA) on Thursday affirmed a ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman in dismissing former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan from the government service.

    Ampatuan was found guilty and failed in a lifestyle check with unexplained wealth and under-declared assets amounting to P70.67 million from 2000 to 2009.

    In a 22-page decision, signed by Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul Inting and concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon Garcia and Lencia Dimagiba, the CA junked an appeal of Ampatuan, saying there is no reversible error in the findings of the Ombudsman.

    Ampatuan is one of the accused in the Maguindanao massacre.

    The CA ruled and gave credence to the findings of the Ombudsman on June 26, 2015 and September 23, 2015 rendering Amputuan guilty of serious dishonesty and grave misconduct and meted him the penalty of dismissal from the service with accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding office and bar from taking civil service examination.

    In his appeal, Ampatuan cited his counsel’s negligence in his failure to file his counter-affidavit. But the CA ruled that negligence of the counsel binds his client.

    Further, it was found out that the Office of the Ombudsman gave Ampatuan an opportunity to file his verified position paper in a resolution dated February 17, 2011 but the accused allegedly failed to comply.

    Ampatuan and his wife Bai Johaira Midtimbang, who served as municipal mayor of Datu Hoffer, Maguindanao, own a total of 24 vehicles worth at least P46.96 million. He also has 26 firearms worth P6 million and that he went out of the country 16 times in five years since 2000. He declared Maguindanao Pawnshop as his only business interest.

    Ampatuan also owns at least 38 houses and lots in Shariff Aguak, Cotabato City, Davao City and Metro Manila amounting to P58.48 million that were not declared in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.

    Jomar Canlas

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