Comelec urged to disqualify Mayor San Pedro after being dismissed by Ombudsman Morales
An anti-corruption group is urging the Commission on Elections to disqualify San Jose del Monte, Bulacan Mayor Reynaldo San Pedro following his dismissal from office by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
Transparency In Public Service (TIPS) spokesperson Brent de Jesus said the Comelec should immediately enforce the Ombdusman’s decision banning San Pedro from holding public office after the mayor was found guilty of “grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct.”
De Jesus noted that the Ombudsman’s dismissal would permanently disqualify San Pedro from holding public office which, under the law, should render his re-election bid null and void.
De Jesus claims that while San Pedro was dismissed for an administrative case, the mayor has been allegedly involved in graft, intimidation, and frustrated murder. “Although it was an administrative offense that caused his dismissal, we still consider this a big victory. Indeed, it nearly came at the cost of someone’s life,” de Jesus said.
San Pedro was dismissed from office due to a complaint file dby former San Jose Del Monte City Engineer Rufino Gravador, Jr. who claimed that the mayor ostracized him after he refused to sign an anomalous contract last 2012.
Gravador accused San Pedro and his allies, former Assistant City Administrator Eduard Ignacio and then-Councilor Ignacio Aguirre,of forcing him to sign the approval for a firm called Arce Bailon Arce to construct a new City Hall. However, upon inspecting the proposal of the contractors, Gravador discovered that the service contract was overpriced by at least P159 million.
When he refused to sign the documents, Gravador disclosed that he was initially offered cash in an envelope amounting to P300,000. When he refused to accept the money, he said that the bribe was later raised to a percentage of the overprice, amounting to P30 million. Again, Gravador refused to sign.
Due to his refusal to cooperate, San Pedro reassigned Gravador as the City Agriculturist, a position where he had absolutely no background or prior experience. When Agravador protested the transfer and brought his case before the Ombudsman, San Pedro had to reinstate him.
To put more pressure on Gravador, San Pedro physically relocated the Office of the City Engineer and reassigned all former staffers to other offices. San Pedro also created a new position, “City Building Official”, and assigned Assistant City Engineer Arnel Vitug to the post. Vitug’s first order was to sign the approval of the Arce Bailon Arce contract.
This prompted Gravador tot a new case with the Ombudsman detailing these irregularities leading to his being ambushed and shot six times and left for dead on the road. Fortunately, Gravador miraculously survived the murder attempt . De Jesus said that allowing San Pedro would be a miscarriage of justice.
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