DUMAGUETE CITY – As he has always fought and defended his string of graft cases with passion as in the past, this time he also ain’t going to make his second dismissal order by the Ombudsman pass, sitting down.
Embattled Governor Roel Ragay Degamo has vowed to contest the second dismissal order by the Office of the Ombudsman in relation to his expenditure of the P 10 million intelligence fund in 2013.
Degamo, who is currently serving the preventive suspension imposed by the Sandiganbayan for his alleged misuse of the 2011 calamity fund involving P 143 million used despite the withdrawal by the Department of Budget and Management. He is separately charged before the Sandiganbayan for malversation of public funds through falsification.
Nevertheless, the camp of Degamo believes that his dismissal order should be set aside in accordance to the Aguinaldo doctrine which extinguishes his administrative liability following his re-election in 2013.
The Department of Interior and Local Government implemented the Ombudsman’s order and requested that Acting Governor Edward Mark Macias and Acting Vice-Governor Mariant E. Villegas assume as Governor and Vice-Governor, respectively.
Degamo will seek the intervention of the Court of Appeals to set aside the second dismissal order by the Ombudsman. His camp asserted that the Ombudsman has abused its power by repeatedly ignoring the Aguinaldo doctrine, which was not yet abandoned when the alleged offenses were committed.
His camp also alleged that the majority of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in 2012 purposely deleted the allocation for intelligence fund, which was part of the executive budget submitted to the SP. After the deletion, Degamo interposed his veto on the item, which the Sanggunian did not override.
But the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) then asserted that the exercise of the veto was misplaced and that Degamo could not exercise such power when no item for intelligence fund was embodied in the final appropriation ordinance.
Despite this, Degamo utilized the P10 million over the objections of the Provincial Accountant, Provincial Budget Officer and Provincial Treasurer. Nevertheless, when the Commission on Audit issued the notice of disallowance, Degamo fully refunded the amount.