The Office of the Ombudsman has filed a usurpation case before the Sandiganbayan against Mayor Vicente Fernandez of Matanao, Davao del Sur for allegedly exercising functions and authority of a town executive while under detention.
Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer IV Maricel Marcial-Oquendo accused Fernandez of violating Article 177, paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code in a charge sheet approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales in May and filed on November 25.
According to the charge sheet, Fernandez allegedly issued an office order, a memoranda and an appropriation ordinance and also allegedly signed official documents including various business permits, appointments as well as checks and other disbursements in January 2015 “under the pretense that he has the authority as local chief executive when he does not have such authority as he was under detention and legally incapacitated to perform his functions which created a temporary vacancy in his office…”
The Ombudsman said former Vice Mayor Elmer Javelona was the one empowered to do so as the then-acting mayor under Section 46(a) of the Local Government Code.
The alleged commission of usurpation of authority was done while Fernandez was detained in connection with the murder of journalist Nestor Bedolido in 2010.
Under the law, the municipal vice mayor shall automatically perform the municipal mayor’s duties and functions if the latter is temporarily incapacitated.
The complaint, however, said Fernandez continued to signed the official documents when he was not legally allowed to do so.
The Ombudsman recommended P10,000 bail for Fernandez’s provisional liberty.
REINA C. TOLENTINO