• Dismissal of ‘jueteng’ case vs Arroyos upheld

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    The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday affirmed the junking by the Office of the Ombudsman of a complaint against late Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo and Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, as well as Restituto Mosqueda, who all were accused of coddling jueteng operations.

    Jueteng is an illegal numbers game.

    The SC First Division gave credence to findings of the Ombudsman in dismissing the case against the respondents for lack of merit.

    The High Court did not bite the complaint filed by Sandra Cam, a self-confessed jueteng operator-turned-whistleblower.

    In particular, the SC junked the charges of violation of Section 2(k) of Republic Act (RA) 9287 or An Act Increasing the Penalties for Illegal Numbers Games Amending Certain Provisions of P.D. 1602 and for Other Purposes.

    In the ruling dated June 29, 2015 in the case of Sandra M. Cam v. Orlando C. Casimiro, it found no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Office of the Ombudsman when it junked the complaint.

    It dismissed the petition for certiorari under Rule 65 and affirmed a resolution dated October 9, 2006 and order dated February 13, 2008 issued by the Office of the Ombudsman in OMB-C-C-05-0380-H, which in turn dismissed Cam’s complaint for insufficiency of evidence to establish probable cause, denying her motion for reconsideration.

    Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was the ponente of the case.

    The tribunal argued that while the petitioner accused the respondents of receiving benefits in the form of cash and vehicles in jueteng operations, Cam only presented her testimony and four official receipts covering the purchase of a Toyota Revo in the name of Marlyn Mosqueda, wife of respondent Mosqueda, which cannot be appreciated to prove that funds used to pay for the vehicle came from jueteng operations.

    In addition, the SC ruled that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the Ombudsman’s part in not filing an information on the basis of Cam’s uncorroborated testimony.

    It opined that the whistleblower was “given” many opportunities to substantiate her bare allegations.

    Public respondents Mothalib Onos, Lourdes Padre-Juan and Rosano Oliva of the Ombudsman’s office even alerted her on the need for more evidence.

    The court said Cam could have easily reproduced or obtained relevant documents, like bank statements or affidavits, and attached these to her motion for reconsideration or
    subsequent pleadings, which she did not do.

    It argued that the whistleblower misquoted the resolution twice.

    First, it clarified that nowhere in the resolution is it stated that the complaint was dismissed because Cam failed to prove the guilt of the respondents but because of “failure to present sufficient proofs to support the accusation.”

    Second, the court clarified that “the resolution impressed that public respondents had been unable to determine the existence of probable cause because Cam presented only uncorroborated allegations, which were met with contrary declarations of the alleged involved personalities in the contested transactions.”

    Also nowhere in the resolution was it mentioned that Cam’s uncorroborated allegations cannot be given credence, as she claimed.

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