Beleaguered governor Roel Degamo who is swamped with several graft cases against him said that the decision of the Court of Appeals in 2017 , still stands that he was merely guilty of simple negligence in the P480-million calamity fund mess because he acted in good faith and the money was spent properly for the urgent rehabilitation of typhoon Sindong’s destructions in Negros Oriental in 2012.
This came in the heels of the exoneration of DBM Usec Mario Relampagos by the Ombudsman on Dec 5,2018 saying he (Relampagos) was within his power to stop DEgamo from proceeding with the SARO “because the release of the money to Negros Oriental did not comply with the guidelines for release of large scale funds for infrastructure projects.”
Indeed Degamo did not heed to Relampagos order because he claimed it was his judgement call to proceed using the money because “time was of the essence and it was due to the exigiencies of the moment and time that he had to protect his province from further damage by typhoon Sendong, by rushing the rehabilitation of damaged areas.”
In view of this, the Court of Appeals , instead of dismissing Degamo as per order of the Ombudsman, “reduced his liability to simple negligence for defying the Relampagos order, yet at the same time, Degamo used the money for its purpose of urgent rehabilitation.”
In summary, Relampagos was upheld by the Ombudsman last Decembert 2018 for doing his duty in stopping Degamo, while the Court of Appeals earlier in 2017, reduced Degamo’s penalty of dismissals to simple negligence for acting in good faith and doing his duty to protect his province from further damage by the wrath of typhoon Sendong.
Asked what Degamo’s reaction will be on the latest Ombudsman’s exoneration of Relampagos, he said he “will do nothing.”
After all Degamo said, his penalty of simple negligence was also exonerated by virtue of the Aguinaldo Doctrine when he was re-elected governor in 2016.
This is a case where both the accuser and the accused were exonerated by the Ombudsman and Court of Appeals respectively.