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SC affirms dismissal of charges vs ex-DBM usec Relampagos

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PHILSTAR

THE SUPREME Court (SC) upheld the 2013 resolution and 2014 order of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing the usurpation of authority or official function charge against Mario L. Relampagos, former undersecretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). In a 13-page decision, the SC’s Third Division dismissed the petition of Negros Oriental Gov. Roel R. Degamo, which assailed the dismissal of his petition against Mr. Relampagos. The SC said that “without proof that [the Ombudsman] acted with grave abuse of discretion,” it “shall not interfere with public respondent’s determination of probable cause.” The case stemmed from the P480.78-million worth of Special Allotment and Release Order (SARO) released by the DBM following the P961.55-million requested by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council for Negros Oriental in 2012 to pay for infrastructure projects damaged by the typhoon Sendong and 6.9-magnitude earthquake. The SARO was withdrawn by Mr. Relampagos, following instructions from then Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad, due to non-compliance with the guidelines on large-scale fund releases for infrastructure projects. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas