OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales defended her decision to file graft charges early this month before the Sandiganbayan against a deceased individual saying her office is not expected to know or take notice of the death of an accused without a proper manifestation from his counsel.
Morales’ statement came Monday in response to news reports over the Office of the Ombudsman’s filing of a criminal case before the anti-graft court for violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 against former Mountain Province Congressman Maximo Dalog who died in June of this year.
The graft case was in connection with the allegedly anomalous purchase of a Mitsubishi L-300 Van during Dalog’s term as governor in 2006.
Referring to Section 1 of Rule 129 of the Revised Rules of Court, which applies suppletorily to the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman, Morales stressed that the death of a party to a case is not among the matters that her office is mandated to take notice of. She added that it is the duty of the party’s counsel under Section 16, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court to inform the court promptly of such death.
As regards the inevitable dismissal of the case against Dalog due to his demise, Morales explained that such dismissal does not affect the indictment of his co-conspirators.
Borrowing the words of the Supreme Court in People v. Henry T. Go (GR. No. 168539, March 25, 2014), Morales emphasized that the death of Dalog does not mean that the “allegation of conspiracy between [his co-accused] can no longer be proved or that their alleged conspiracy is already expunged.”
In a Resolution earlier approved by Morales, Dalog was recommended for indictment for graft before the Sandiganbayan together with provincial accountant Theodore Marrero; provincial health officer Nenita Lizardo; provincial nurse Helen Macli-ing; Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) chairman Paulo Pagteilan; BAC members Lily Rose Kollin, Florence Gut-Omen, Edward Likigan and Soledad Theresa Wanawan; budget officer Jerome Falingao, a member of the BAC TWG; executive assistant Abdon Imingan of the BAC Secretariat; technical inspector Abelard Pachingel; and private respondent Ronald Kimakim of Ronhil Trading.
The Ombudsman had also denied the motions for reconsideration filed by private respondent and Dalog’s co-public respondents.
Bail for the accused has been set at P30,000 each.