Maguindanao town mayor sued for inaccurate SALN entries

MANILA The Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday announced that it has found probable cause to charge before the Sandiganbayan a municipal mayor of Maguindanao for non-disclosure of his properties in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) for four years.

The Ombudsman said Talitay, Maguindanao Mayor Montaser Sabal has been found violating Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and Section 7 of RA No. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for his alleged untruthful statements in his SALNs from 2011 to 2015.

Case records show that Sabal failed to disclose his ownership of 13 firearms, four vehicles, including a Hummer, Ford Ranger pick-up truck, Toyota Land Cruiser, a Toyota Hilux; and four business interests located in Datu Odin Sinsuat and Talitay, Maguindanao.

Sabal also allegedly failed to disclose the purchase price of each real property mentioned in his SALNs.

In his counter-affidavit, the town mayor argued that the non-declaration of his firearms was inadvertently omitted by his staff member who filed his SALNs.

He added that the businesses are small ventures and that the vehicles were acquired through a chattel mortgage, making it unnecessary to be included in the SALNs.

In its resolution dated Mar. 14, 2018, the Ombudsman said the law on SALN is clear that all assets of a public officer, including those of his or her spouse, must be declared. There is no mention that where the value of the property was insignificant or the mode of acquisition was by loan, the declarant has the option not to disclose.

Source: Philippine News Agency