THE Supreme Court (SC) upheld the ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman indicting former mayor Eulogio “Leo” Rodriguez of Bato, Catanduanes and governor Joseph Cua for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The High Court’s Second Division resolution, dated Jan. 25, 2021 but was made public only recently, dismissed Rodriguez’s petition to drop the charges against him, citing grave abuse of discretion.
It affirmed Ombudsman Samuel Martires rulings on March 14, 2019 and September 18, 2019 that found Cua and Rodriguez guilty of the crime committed with the element of partiality, bad faith, inexcusable negligence and conspiracy as cited in the complaint filed by one Rey Mendez.
It also ordered a 90-day suspension of Cua and Rodriguez based on the administrative charges also filed by Mendez. Cua won his reelection bid in May 2019, while Rodriguez lost his.
Mendez alleged that Rodriguez had allowed E.R Construction to use a government-owned vacant lot near a mall as a bunkhouse and garage free of charge. The mall was reportedly owned by Rodriguez.
Cua denied knowing E.R Construction or having knowledge of or giving it a permit to use the vacant lot, adding he seldom passed by the route.
Rodriguez sought redress before the Supreme Court, which said that the local official failed to establish grave abuse of discretion by the Ombudsman in filing the resolutions against him.
“In the case of public officials, the determination of the existence of probable cause is the function of the Ombudsman,” the court said.
“A reading of the petition reveals that it merely contains general averments of the alleged grave and irreparable injury which the petitioner would suffer should an information be filed against him. Verily, general allegations do not suffice,” it said.