Paombong ex-mayor indicted for operating dump

The Office of the Ombudsman has indicted an ex-Bulacan mayor for opeating an illegal dump.

Former Paombong mayor Isagani Castro, along with 10 other local officials, were charged with violation of Section 48(9) in relation to Sections 37 and 49(d) of Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

Included in the indictment were then vice mayor Marisa Ramos; Sangguniang Bayan members Myrna Valencia, Luisito Arellano, Francisco Valencia, Maximo Tanghal, Reynaldo Sulit, Arnaldo Mendoza, James Jester Santos and Zoilo Estrella, and municipal environment and natural resources officer Marciana Tanghal.

In a related administrative case, the incumbent SB members—Mendoza, Santos and Estrella—and Tanghal were found guilty of gross neglect of duty and were ordered suspended for one year.

In its complaint, the special panel of investigators from the Environmental Ombudsman pointed out that respondents continued to allow the operation of an open dump in violation of RA No. 9003.

As early as 2011, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources' regional office issued a notice of closure directing the Paombong local government to cease and desist from operating an open dump in Barangay San Isidro II, and cause its rehabilitation.

On July 3, 2015, inspectors from the Environmental Management Bureau inspected the waste disposal facility and discovered that the municipality still maintained an illegal open dump.

On July 20, 2015, the DENR once again ordered the closure of the dumps and directed them to ensure its full closure before the end of July 2015. But on Nov. 20, 2015, an inspection and monitoring team found the dump was still operational.

In August 2016, members of Environmental Ombudsman team conducted a separate ocular inspection and discovered that the dump was adjacent to the Labangan Channel (now Angat River) and fishpond area located within a nearby residential area.

The team also found out that the trash was dumped without segregation.

A follow-up inspection was conducted on Oct. 6, 2016 which yielded the same results.

“The implementation and enforcement of RA No. 9003 is expressly conferred upon local government units. In this case, respondents, as the principal officials of the municipality of Paombong, Bulacan, not only glaringly failed to perform their legal duty, but likewise blatantly and with impunity violated the law by unabashedly operating an open dumpsite. The establishment and operation of open dumps by any person, including local government units, are prohibited and penalized under RA No. 9003. The proion became effective when the law took effect on 15 February 2001. Five years thereafter, [or in 2006], even the operation of controlled dumps was no longer allowed," the resolution read.

“In this case, it has been established that as of 2017, the local government of Paombong, Bulacan has been operating an open and controlled dumpsite for 12 long years."

Meanwhile, in a separate case, the Ombudsman found a Registry of Deeds official in Negros Occidental guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the service in an anomalous tax transaction.

It also ordered the dismissal from the service of Registrar of Deeds Romulo Gonzaga of Bacolod City for violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

Filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue's Regional Office No. 12, the charge said that Gonzaga illegally issued a transfer of certificate of title in favor of a certain Florentino Perez without the required certificate authorizing registration and tax clearance certificate.

The anomalous transaction resulted in an aggregate tax deficiency of P86,231.33 to the prejudice of the government.

Gonzaga asserted good faith and claimed he could not be faulted for not meticulously scrutinizing each and every document presented to him for action because of his heavy workload.

“Respondent flagrantly violated pertinent rules and regulations governing land titling when he authorized the transfer of the property from [Segundina] Hulguin to Perez without the required certificate authorizing registration. Respondent acquiesced to their tax evasion, to the prejudice of the government," the resolution read.

Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente directed the Land Registration Authority Administrator to implement the dismissal order.

Topics: Office of the Ombudsman , illegal dump , Isagani Castro , Ecological Solid Waste Management Act
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