Ombudsman suspends Maguindanao vice-gov for SALN violations
(28 October 2016) – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered the six-month suspension of Maguindanao Vice-Governor Lester Sinsuat after he was found guilty of Simple Negligence for his failure to accurately declare properties in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN). In the related criminal case, the Ombudsman has also found probable cause to charge Sinsuat with four counts of Perjury penalized under Article 183 of Revised Penal Code.
Records show that Sinsuat consistently failed to declare five agricultural lands, two commercial properties and a residential property in his 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012 SALNs.
According to respondent, “he was not directly involved in processing the registration of properties under his name as he merely requests his staff to do so” and that “it is a common practice and culture in his province to rely on word of honor in transactions involving real properties.”
The Decision stated that “records sufficiently prove that respondent made a willful and deliberate assertion of a falsehood by materially omitting in his SALN for 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012, the real properties he acquired in those years.”
“[Sinsuat] failed to pay attention to the details of his SALN, resulting in the inaccuracy of crucial information,” the Decision added.
The Ombudsman reminded public servants that in the discharge of duties, “they must use prudence, caution, and attention which careful persons use in the management of their affairs.”