The Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to file graft and malversation charges before the Sandiganbayan against Mayor Rogelio Pimentel of Tago, Surigao del Sur for allegedly using public property for his private resort.
Likewise facing charges is Barangay (village) Unaban Chairman Herminigildo Reyes.
“Records show that in December 2013, barangay Unaban in Tago received 286 sacks of cement and 280 steel bars from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist to build a solar dryer. In January 2014, Pimentel took the construction materials with the consent of Reyes, and used them to construct his privately-owned resort. Pimentel even admitted over a local radio station that he personally used the construction materials,” the Ombudsman said in a statement issued on Friday.
Pimentel said that the materials were taken because of the impending flood and that he replenished the materials.
However, the Ombudsman rejected his defense and said that he “opted to utilize the materials for personal purposes despite the fact that (they) were public properties.”
“(T)he attendance of bad faith, manifest partiality, or gross inexcusable negligence is apparent in respondent’s blatant disregard for the rules concerning the use of public properties,” it added.
Pimentel reserves the right to ask the Ombudsman to reconsider its ruling.
Under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, public officials are prohibited from causing undue injury to any party including the government, or giving a private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of their official functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.