THE Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision junking criminal and administrative charges against former Cavite Gov. Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi in connection with alleged anomalies in the purchase of 7,500 sacks of rice worth P7.5 million in 2004.
In a 13-page ruling penned by Associate Justice Marie Christine Azcarraga-Jacob and concurred in by Associate Justices Ricardo Rosario and Edwin Sorongon, the CA’s 16th Division denied a petition for certiorari filed by Maliksi’s political rival Juanito Victor “Jonvic” Remulla as it upheld joint decisions of the Ombudsman in 2007.
Maliksi, on October 5, 2004, issued a purchase request for the sacks of rice to be used to alleviate hunger among indigent families of different barangay (villages) in the province.
Remulla filed the complaint denouncing Maliksi’s move, calling it a ghost transaction and alleging that no sacks of rice were delivered to the provincial capitol.
He claimed that there was no public bidding conducted for the procurement of the sacks of rice.
In its decision, however, the Ombudsman agreed with Maliksi’s argument that the rice purchase qualified as an emergency purchase and was exempt from bidding requirements.
Remulla sought reconsideration but it was rejected, prompting him to seek redress before the appellate court.
In its August 16, 2016 ruling that was released just recently, the Court of Appeals affirmed the Ombudsman’s ruling.
“These findings of the respondent Ombudsman are conclusive on this court, there being no showing that they were arbitrarily or capriciously made,” the CA said.
“Substantial evidence has concretely shown in no uncertain terms that respondent Maliksi had no wrongful intention or furtive design in procuring the subject sacks of rice.”
Thus, the appellate court said, the anti-graft body “correctly ordered the dismissal of the administrative charges for misconduct and abuse of authority, [among others,]against respondent Maliksi.”