Anti-graft court clears top SBMA officials of Diño raps

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed three other cases filed by then Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Martin Diño against two other senior officials amidst the leadership row in the Subic agency two years ago.

In a consolidated joint resolution approved by Ombudsman Samuel R. Martires last June and released by his office on October 23, the graft court cleared now SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma and SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Support Services Ramon O. Agregado of falsification, usurpation of authority, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.

The charges filed by Diño were dismissed for lack of probable cause and lack of substantial evidence.

Diño, who is now undersecretary at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), filed the cases in August and September 2017 at the height of his squabble for leadership with Eisma, who was then SBMA administrator and CEO.

Diño alleged that Eisma usurped the power of the SBMA Board of Directors when she authorized Agregado to sign on her behalf term sheets for Management Approved Proposals (MAPs).

He also claimed that Eisma thereafter issued an office order to cover up Agregado’s purported usurpation.

In its ruling, however, the Ombudsman said it found no probable cause to indict the respondents for any of the complaints filed by the former SBMA official.

“As such, it cannot be said that respondent Eisma usurped the authority of the Board when she designated respondent Agregado to sign the subject MAPs in her behalf,” the Ombudsman ruled.

“It cannot likewise be said that respondent Agregado usurped the authority of respondent Eisma,” it added.

As to the charge of falsification, the Ombudsman said the office order issued by Eisma to authorize Agregado to sign the MAPs “was genuine and validly issued” and that even if the order was numbered much later due to errors in assignment, “it does not affect the truthfulness of the contents thereof.”

The Ombudsman also quashed charges of grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and serious dishonesty, and pointed out that the complainant failed to establish that respondents violated any law, or tarnished the image or integrity of their office.

Diño also “failed to submit any other compelling evidence to effectively assail the genuineness and due execution of (Eisma’s) office order,” the resolution stated.

This was the second time that the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed charges filed by Diño against officials of the Subic agency. Last July, the anti-graft court also ruled against Diño in a complaint he filed two years ago against five senior SBMA officials in connection with his claim for salary as SBMA chairman.