THE Office of the Ombudsman has upheld its decision to dismiss graft charges against government officials including Senator Franklin Drilon over the construction of the multi-million-peso Iloilo Convention Center (ICC).
The anti-graft office denied with finality, for lack of merit, the motion for reconsideration filed by Manuel Mejorada, who filed graft charges against Drilon, Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and other DPWH officials, architect W. Coscoluella and Associates and Hilmarc Construction Corp.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, in a decision dated July 9, upheld an earlier decision dismissing the charges.
Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the Ombudsman’s decision is a triumph of law over frivolous accusations, which only succeeded in delaying the construction of the convention center by almost four months.
The city mayor said the center is the main venue of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings that will catapult Iloilo City to world attention.
Mejorada earlier brought the case to the Senate for investigation by the Blue Ribbon committee but failed to present substantial evidence.
The Ombudsman criticized the complainant for relying on online sources in filing his case. The anti-graft body found out that the government was even able to save a huge amount of money allotted for the ICC’s design, which contradicted the complainant’s allegation.