Lintang Bedol faces charges for not filing SALN
MANILA, Philippines – Former Maguindanao election supervisor Lintang Bedol, among those involved in the 2004 and 2007 poll fraud scandals, faces criminal indictment for failure to file his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for 5 years.
In a statement on Tuesday, September 16, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao said it has approved the filing of charges against Bedol, after determining that he did not file his SALNs from 2002 to 2006.
The Deputy Ombudsman said Bedol violated Section 8 of Republic Act 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Section 8 of RA 6713 state that all public officials and employees have an obligation to accomplish and submit declarations under oath of their assets, liabilities, net worth and financial and business interests including those of their spouses and of unmarried children under 18 years of age living in their households.
Under the law, failure to comply with this requirement is “punishable with imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years, or a fine not exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000), or both, and, in the discretion of the court of competent jurisdiction, disqualification to hold public office.”
In his defense, Bedol claimed that his 2005 and 2006 SALNs were among the stolen documents when his office at the Maguindanao capitol building in Shariff Aguak town was ransacked in 2007.
But the Deputy Ombudsman said that Bedol's claim "strengthened" his indictment. "Why would respondent simply store the SALNs among his personal documents and not file them with the Office of the Ombudsman or COMELEC Manila?" the 6-page resolution stated.
As for his SALNs from 2007 to 2009, Bedol said that he was in hiding during those years, following alleged threats on his life to prevent him from exposing poll irregularities during the 2007 midterm elections.
However, the Deputy Ombudsman determined that Bedol was no longer a public official since 2007, as he went on absence without official leave since 2007, and only resurfaced in 2011.
Bedol was the former provincial election supervisor of the Commission on Election (Comelec) in Maguindanao.
In 2004, he was among the poll officials that former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano allegedly called on the phone regarding fraud operations in Mindanao. The wiretapped phone conversations, which also included a woman's voice who sounded like then-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, has since been known as the "Hello Garci" scandal.
Bedol was also involved in vote-padding in Maguindanao during the 2007 senatorial elections. He was among those charged with Arroyo in an electoral sabotage case filed by Comelec.
After going into hiding, Bedol surrendered to authorities in 2011. He is currently detained in Camp Crame. – with reports from Aries Rufo/Rappler.com