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Ombudsman clears Nueva Ecija mayor Nepomuceno on travel raps

The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed charges of violations of Revised Penal Code filed by a certain Henry Nepomuceno against City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara over his overseas travel from July 1-20, 2017.

In a five-page decision on OMB-L-C-17 -0471 signed by Ombudsman Samuel Martirez, the anti-graft body noted that Vergara had filed an application for vacation leave before the office of Governor Czarina Umali and submitted foreign travel authority (FTA) before the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), money and property accountability clearance (MPAC) and Oath of Undertaking.

It also noted that Vergara issued a memorandum designating Vice Mayor Emmanuel Anthony to exercise the powers and duties of the city chief executive during his absence.

In his complaint, Nepomuceno, a resident of this city, alleged that Vergara violated articles 151 and 219 of RPC when he travelled abroad amid the governor’s disapproval of his application for leave owing to his “failure to give all important details and for failing to file the same within five days before going on such leave.”

Records showed Vergara went abroad for the family’s bi-annual medical check-up.

According to the Ombudsman, the concept of resistance and disobedience to a person in authority and his agents under Art. 151 was not applicable in the case.

“In disapproving respondent’s leave application, Governor Umali was not giving an order directly to respondent such that respondent’s leaving for abroad despite such disapproval would amount to the disobedience contemplated under that Art. 151 of RPC,” the decision reads.

“Hence, the charge for violation of Art. 151 of the Revised Penal Code shall fail,” it concludes.

The decision was dated Oct. 17 and received here on Monday (Oct. 29).