The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) on Monday said it was not part of its duty to know or take notice of the death of an accused without proper manifestation from the defense counsel.
The Ombudsman issued the statement in response to news reports over its filing of a criminal case before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act No. 3019 against former Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog who, reports claimed , died in June of this year.
The graft case was in connection with the 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, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales stressed her office was not mandate to take notice of the death of a party to a case.
Morales added it was 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, the Ombudsman said such dismissal does not affect the indictment of his co-conspirators.
Borrowing the words of the Supreme Court (SC) in the case of “People v. Henry T. Go”, the Office of the Ombudsman stressed 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 approved by the Ombudsman, 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 (MRs) filed by private respondent and Dalog’s co-public respondents. (PTR/PNA)