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Press Release

Ombudsman charges ex-Cebu mayor Chiong for graft
04 August 2017

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has found probable cause to indict former mayor Valdemar Chiong of Naga City, Cebu, for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) before the Sandiganbayan.  The former local chief was also found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Gross Neglect of Duty, perpetually barring him from public service. In case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to Chiong’s salary for one year.

The charges stemmed from Chiong’s unlawful issuance of a mayor’s permit to Petronas Energy Philippines, a wholesaler of liquefied petroleum gas.  Records show that the 2014 business permit was issued on 07 April 2014 despite Petronas’ failure to present its Fire Safety Inspection Certificate.

In his defense, the Chiong claimed that he only issued a conditional Mayor’s Permit as he had to act and use his discretion in addressing Petronas’ pending application pursuant to his power. 

            In its Resolution, the Ombudsman stated that, “Chiong deliberately violated the specific requirement of Section 5 (g) of R.A. No. 9514 (Fire Code) and in doing so, he gave unwarranted benefits, advantage, or preference to Petronas. This clearly shows gross inexcusable negligence and constituted Grave Misconduct and Gross Neglect of Duty on his part in the performance of his duties and responsibilities as a Mayor.”

“His allegation that the Mayor’s Permit issued is ‘conditional’ anyway does not negate the Grave Misconduct and the existence of probable cause against him because the issuance of a conditional business permit under DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2011-15 is allowed ‘where the only lacking clearances are those of SSS, Philhealth and Pag-IBIG’,” the Ombudsman added.

Section 5 (g) of the Fire Code states that, “no occupancy permit, business or permit to operate shall be issued without securing a Fire Safety Inspection Certificate from the Chief, BFP, or the duly authorized representative.”

Under Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, it shall be unlawful for public officials to cause any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.###