MANILA — Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday approved the filing of charges against Kidapawan City Regional Agrarian Reform Adjudicator (RARAD) Henry Gelacio for direct bribery, violations of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”, and Section 7(d) of R A No. 6713, or the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees”.
The cases arose from a complaint filed by Eduardito Garbo, a tenant-farmer who claimed that Gelacio, on several occasions, solicited and accepted bribe money totaling to Php120,000 plus tuna, in exchange for the issuance of temporary restraining order (TRO) and writ of preliminary injunction in connection with an agrarian case filed by Garbo and fellow tenants then pending with Gelacio.
The tenant-farmers lamented that they sold their farm animals and implements while some of their children stopped attending school, in order to raise funds for the bribe money demanded by Gelacio.
The Ombudsman resolution said that Gelacio “received the amounts in consideration of the issuance of a TRO and Injunction Order which were connected with his official duties” and the action was “unjust because it pertained to the issuance of an order regardless of merit.”
In approving the resolution, Morales said that Gelacio “compromised the performance of the duties reposed upon an adjudicator; a prostitution of public position” and the acts were a “betrayal of the responsibility to determine and guarantee the rights and obligations of parties without favor or bias.”
Section 3(e) of RA No. 3019 prohibits public officials from performing official duties with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable neglect, thereby causing undue injury to the government or any private party; or which would give any party unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference.
On the other hand, Section 7 (d) of RA No. 6713 prohibits public officials and employees from “solicit[ing] or accept[ing], directly or indirectly, any gift, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value from any person in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.”