The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of Mayor Cristeta Reyes of Malvar town in Batangas for grave misconduct over the alleged anomalous procurement of a lot owned by her children.
In a decision rendered by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon and approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on September 8, 2017, Reyes was dismissed with accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, barred from taking civil service examination, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in government service.
The case stemmed from her approval of the purchase a lot allegedly owned by her children for the construction of Santiago National High School in the municipality, an act prohibited under government procurement laws.
The Ombudsman’s resolution dismissing Reyes was served on November 15 by Adelma Mauleon, provincial director, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Meanwhile, Reyes said she is convinced there was nothing wrong with what she did as she did not benefit from the sale. She has filed a motion for reconsideration hoping that the Ombudsman will look into her reply.
“I did not think there was pecuniary interest on my part for the municipality to purchase my children’s 5,000 square meters [sqm]property at P1,320 per sqm while on that same year there was a property in the area that was sold at 5,100 pesos per sqm. The sale was a great loss on the part of my children for reason that the price was only 25 percent of the market value,” she said.
Reyes added that they gathered hundreds of parents’ signatures together with the resolution of the Sangguniang Bayan authorizing her to purchase the property and a Commission on Audit report that shows no exception regarding the said purchase.
“I could still recall students have had classes for a few months under the tree while waiting for the school building due to late scouting of a lot to buy. For eight consecutive years, hundreds of students have graduated from this school [Santiago National High School],” she added.
Brian Ballon, DILG 4A local government operations officer, said the Ombudsman’s decision is final and executory and they were just waiting for official report from Mauleon and will issue an order to appoint an acting mayor.
Likewise found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and suspended for nine months are Municipal Budget Officer Jeanette Fruelda and Municipal Treasurer Yolanda Cabiscuelas.