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Ombudsman suspends 7 Marikina engineering personnel over solicitation allegation

Ombudsman suspends 7 Marikina engineering personnel over solicitation allegation

Ombudsman Samuel Martires has ordered the suspension of seven Marikina City Engineering Department personnel of up to six months over alleged solicitation of bribes in exchange for issuance of a building permit.

In a 10-page Order dated June 6 but only released on Monday, June 10, the Ombudsman meted the suspension to Kenny Sueno, Romeo Gutierrez Jr., Marlito Poquiz, Alex Copreros, Mark de Joya, Abigail Joy Santiago aka Abby Salvador, and Manuel Santos.

"This Office finds sufficient grounds for the issuance of an Order for Preventive Suspension against respondents Sueno, Gutierrez, Jr., Poquiz, Copreros, de Joya, Santiago and Santos, considering that there is strong evidence showing their guilt; the charges against them for Grave Misconduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service may warrant their removal from the service," the Ombudsman said.

According to the Ombudsman, the continued stay in office of the seven personnel may prejudice the investigation of the case. The suspension was also to preserve documents and evidence and prevent further malfeasance and misfeasance in office.

GMA News Online has reached out to Mayor Marcelino Teodoro and the local government of Marikina City, but they have yet to respond as of posting time.

The suspension order stemmed from the August 2021 complaint filed by a couple who accused the seven personnel of collecting as much as P430,000 for their application for a building permit for the construction of their house. 

The couple said the construction did not push through because ng engineering office did not release the permit.

"The evidence on record shows the respective participations of respondents Sueno, Gutierrez, Poquiz, Copreros, de Joya, Santigao, and Santos pertaining to the promise to fast-track the processing and approval of complainants' building and occupancy permits in exchange for monetary consideration, and abuse of power and the retaliatory tactics committed by respondents against complainants pertaining to said permits," the Ombudsman said.

The suspension was without pay and will last "until the administrative adjudication of this case is terminated, but not to exceed six months, except when the delay in the disposition of the case is due to their fault, negligence, or petition; in which case the period of delay shall not be counted in computing the period of preventive suspension," the Ombudsman said. —KBK, GMA Integrated News