THE SUPREME Court (SC) has affirmed the Court of Appeals’ (CA) decision clearing 41st Infantry Battalion Commander Officer Noel P. Mislang of charges for allegedly conspiring to kill a former town mayor in Abra. In the decision dated Oct. 15, 2018 but was released only on Monday, the SC first division denied the petition of the Ombudsman to reverse the CA’s Oct. 15, 2012 decision and June 7, 2013 resolution, saying the Ombudsman does not have jurisdiction over the case as it was a non-graft and corruption case. The Ombudsman in 2011 found Mr. Mislang guilty of grave misconduct for allegedly conspiring to kill former Lagayan mayor Cecili S. Luna in 2004. “(T)he AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) General Court Martial’s exercise of jurisdiction is to the exclusion of the Ombudsman exercising concurrent jurisdiction. Necessarily, the present petition must be denied,” the SC said. The AFP and the Ombudsman signed a Memorandum of Agreement on Jan. 28, 2004 wherein the Ombudsman would endorse to the AFP non-graft and corruption cases against military personnel. Mr. Mislang along with former Abra governor Vicente P. Valera and Military Intelligence Group agents Mauro Durwin and Florencio Baharin were charged with grave misconduct before the Ombudsman for allegedly conspiring to kill Ms. Luna. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas