Ombudsman suspends ARTA chief, 4 other execs for 6 months

By: Zacarian Sarao - @inquirerdotnet - Inquirer.net | June 05,2022 - 09:16 PM

ARTA Sec. Jeremiah Belgica

MANILA, Philippines —  The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the preventive suspension of Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director General Jeremiah Belgica and four other officials for alleged graft.

In its order dated May 24, the Ombudsman ordered the suspension for six months of Belgica, Deputy Director General Eduardo Bringas, Director Jedreck Ng, Director Melamy Salvadora-Asperin and Division Chief Sheryl Pura-Sumagui.

“In order to secure the documents and to prevent possible harassment of witnesses and considering further that their continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against them, they are hereby placed under PREVENTIVE SUSPENSION for a period of six (6) months pursuant to Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6770,” as stated in the order signed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires.

The preventive suspension was ordered after a complaint was filed by a telecommunications firm against Belgica and the four other ARTA officials for alleged violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

In its complaint, the telco firm accused the five ARTA officials of allegedly favoring and providing special treatment to another telco firm in the selection of a New Major Player (NMP) in the country’s telecom industry, which was conducted by the National Telecommunications Commission.

Martires noted that the telco firm that was allegedly favored also purchased bid documents but failed to participate in the NMP selection process.

“The evidence on record shows that the guilt of respondents JEREMIAH B. BELGICA, EDUARDO V. BRINGAS, SHERYL PURA SUMAGUI, JEDREK C. NG and MELAMY A. SALVADORA-ASPERIN is strong and the charges against them involve Grave Misconduct, Gross Neglect of Duty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service which may warrant removal from the service,” Martires said.

Meanwhile, a copy of the suspension order was forwarded to the office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on June 3 for its immediate implementation.

INQUIRER.net has tried to reach out to Belgica but has yet to get a reply as of writing.

/MUF

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TAGS: Anti-Red Tape Authority, ARTA, Office of the Ombudsman, Ombudisman, preventive suspension

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