Maguindanao town mayor suspended for one year

MANILA The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered Talitay, Maguindanao Mayor Montaser Sabal suspended for one year for gross neglect of duty.

Records showed that Sabal had failed to disclose substantial properties and business interests in his 2011 to 2015 Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs), including 14 firearms, four high-end vehicles, and business interests in general merchandise, construction supplies, and accessories.

Likewise, the anti-graft body discovered that Sabal had failed to secure the permission of the governor for his overseas travels from 2010 to 2016.

Sabal was also faulted for failing to initiate and propose legislative measures to the Sanggunian for the municipality's anti-illegal drugs program, as mandated under Republic Act (RA) No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and as reiterated in a memorandum circular of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

As attested by Municipal Budget Officer Charity Tampoco and Municipal Treasurer Norodin Samaon, the municipality never allocated a budget for the anti-illegal drugs program from 2010 to 2015, hence, not a single-activity geared towards the curtailment of illegal drugs in the same period took place.

In its decision, the Ombudsman cited Section 51 of RA No. 9165, which states that local government units should appropriate a substantial portion of their respective annual budgets to assist in or enhance the enforcement of the law, giving priority to preventive or educational programs and the rehabilitation or treatment of drug dependents.

On the other hand, DILG Circular No. 2015-63 provides that failure to so appropriate shall be a ground for an administrative case for dereliction of duty against concerned local officials and the disapproval of the local annual budget on review.

The anti-graft body has ordered the DILG Secretary to implement the decision.

Source: Philippine News Agency