By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
The Office of the Ombudsman has ruled in favor of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas after it dismissed the 2022 administrative charges filed by then-election rival Jun Capulot and former city councilor Plaridel Nava II.
“There is no fact or evidence to show that respondent transgressed some established and definite rule of action as to hold him administratively liable for any misconduct […] (Treñas) did not exceed his authority in performing his duties, causing undue injury to any person or the government,” the Ombudsman ruled.
It stressed that the complaint filed by Capulot and Nava has “no leg to stand on.”
On March 25, 2022, during the height of the elections, Capulot and Nava filed charges against Treñas before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas in Iloilo City.
The complaint is over the city mayor’s conduct unbecoming of a public official, grave abuse of authority, and grave misconduct for alleged “ostentatious and immoderate spending” and an excess in COVID-19 vaccines.
Specifically, the complaint alleged that Treñas had entered into a contract of loan of P1.75 billion with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to repair the city’s public market, construct a seven-story parking building, and procure vehicles for city councilors.
The Ombudsman noted that “evidently, respondent did not violate any law or rule when he entered into a contract of loan with the (DBP) to finance and meet the priority projects of the Iloilo City Government.”
“There is no showing that the funds borrowed were used for respondent’s own personal interest or utilized for a purpose other than that intended,” it added.
On the purchase of brand-new motor vehicles for the use of the city councilors, the Ombudsman noted that there is no evidence that the purchase of the motor vehicles was illegal.
It furthered that the procurement was authorized by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) through Undersecretary Marivel Sacendoncillo.
The city mayor previously argued that the purchase of the motor vehicles passed through public bidding and was approved by the DILG.
Meanwhile, the ruling also stressed that the complainants “was not established that there was any wastage of the COVID-19 vaccines purchased by the Iloilo City Government.”
“(Capulot and Nava’s) bare accusations cannot be readily accepted [by] hook, line and sinker, so to speak, to hold (Trenas) administratively liable. [The bare accusation that a number of vaccines purchased were excessive, therefore, deserves scant consideration,” the decision reads.
On the accusations that the city mayor influenced the city council to approve his request for a P438-million supplemental budget, the Ombudsman noted that there is “bereft of credible evidence” or is lacking reliable proof
“Noticeably, the complaint has failed to show how (Treñas) held sway over the [city council] to do his bidding. In fine, there is no fact or evidence to show that respondent transgressed some established and definite rule of action as to hold him administratively liable for any misconduct,” it stressed.
The request for a supplemental budget was used to cover the salaries for newly-created plantilla, additional job hires, and executive assistants.
The Ombudsman ruled that Treñas did not exceed his authority in performing his duties, causing undue injury to any person or the government.
Treñas previously asserted that the administrative complaints of Capulot and Nava are just their move to advance their own political agenda during the 2022 elections.