Former mayor Edward Hagedorn of Puerto Princesa on Friday cried foul at the move by the Office of the Ombudsman to file charges against him before the Sandiganbayan.
Hagedorn described the move as “politically motivated” saying it was part of “grand plan” to destroy him supposedly during the recall elections in Puerto Princesa that was held on May 8.
But the demolition plan, he added, did not succeed as the Office of the Ombudsman issued its recommendation only recently.
“I think there is a big person behind all of these accusations,” he told a press briefing in Makati City.
There were 29 candidates who vied for Puerto Princesa’s mayoral post, but only incumbent Mayor Lucilo Bayron and Hagedorn were deemed the frontrunners.
Hagedorn vehemently denied that he did not declare all his assets in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) accurately.
The Ombudsman on Thursday said it has found probable cause to file charges before the San-diganbayan against Hagedorn for allegedly making untruthful statements in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) from 2004 to 2012.
The charges include nine counts of perjury, one count for violation of Section 7 of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft Law, and one count for violation of Section 8 of RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
In a resolution approved on May 12, the Ombudsman said “Hage-dorn consistently misrepresented the contents of his SALNs” and “concealed information about his ownership of real and personal properties by failing to accurately declare them in his SALNs.”
The Ombudsman found the former mayor allegedly failed to declare his ownership of 59 parcels of real property including residential lots, commercial buildings and agricultural lands.
Tax declarations were submitted during the preliminary investigation which showed “there are more than three real properties registered in respondent’s name—specifically five buildings, four commercial lands, 10 agricultural lands and 40 residential lands,” the Ombudsman said in a statement.
Only three real properties in Puerto Princesa City and one in Parañaque City were declared in the SALN as his own, the Ombudsman pointed out.
Hagedorn clarified that all the 59 parcels of real property were declared saying that he just indicated their total amount in his SALN.
“I don’t know why the Ombudsman failed to look at the documents containing all the real properties and their value,” he added.
He also pointed out that he did not receive the Ombudsman’s resolution and only learned it from news reports.
“How can we file a motion for reconsideration if we haven’t received the Ombudsman’s resolution,” he said.
Hagedorn also allegedly failed to declare ownership of 49 vehicles that included motorcycles and luxury vehicles.
Also, he allegedly failed to disclose his business interests in various companies.
Under the law, public officials are required to file a SALN where they must make a true and accurate declaration of their assets, liabilities and net worth, financial and business interests during each year of their incumbency.
Perjury is committed when a person deliberately makes an untruthful statement upon any material matter in a document required by law to be sworn before any public officer.