In a Joint Resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) dismissed the case filed by Jersafe Salatandre against Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Jessie D. Delloso (Dellosa), Intelligence Officer 1 Jimmy S. Guban (Guban), Intelligence Agent II Ernan E. Abario (Abario), Investigator Danilo Umacob (Umacob), Counter Intelligence Agent II Cesar D. Sabino, Intelligence Staff Enrico Agno, and Acting District Collector Mario A. Mendoza, all of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for violation of Section 3(e), RA 3019, grave coercion, robbery, grave abuse of authority, grave misconduct, oppression and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
The Ombudsman in a nine-page joint resolution resolved to dismiss the case against the BOC officials and employees because the subject matters of the complaint (the issuance by Mendoza of WSD No. 2014-056 and the Decision of June 5, 2014) are now on appeal with the Office of the Commissioner (OCOM). The Ombudsman explained that under settled rule, “the body or agency that first takes cognizance of the complaint shall exercise jurisdiction until its conclusion to the exclusion of the others.” The Anti-Graft Body further elucidated that the Notice of Appeal to the OCOM was filed ahead of the complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman also pointed out that the BOC February 9, 2014 operation involved the apprehension and impounding of the three vehicles caught loaded with bales of used clothing without proper documents, allegedly in violation of pertinent provisions of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, in relation to R.A. 4653. In fact, a Joint Complaint Affidavit was eventually filed on February 17, 2015 against complainant Salatandre and a certain Rodelio Salivio for violation of R.A. 4653 with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Malabon City-Navotas City.
The Ombudsman also said, the BOC operation on February 12, 2014 involved the implementation of a valid Letter of Authority (LOA No. 02-10-002-2014), issued by then BOC Commissioner John P. Sevilla. In fact, the Anti-Graft Body took note of the fact that the BOC operatives duly coordinated its February 12, 2014 operation with both the barangay and police authorities; and the fact that the seized bales of used clothing were properly turned over to the custody of the Auction and Cargo Disposal Division of the BOC.
“Umacob, Guban, Abario and Agno, as Investigator and Intelligence Agents, are presumed to have performed their official duties with regularity and in accordance with law in the absence of evidence to the contrary,” stressed the Ombudsman.
The above case arose from the operations that the BOC intelligence group conducted on February 9, 2014 and February 12, 2014 to prevent the importation of used clothing in violation of the provisions of R.A. 4653.