The Office of the Ombudsman has found Buen Zaldivar, a member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Albuera, Leyte, guilty of Grave Misconduct and ordered him dismissed from the service. The Ombudsman also ordered the filing of an Information against respondent for violation of Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) with the Regional Trial Court of Baybay in Leyte.
Records of the investigation show that Zaldivar operated and maintained financial interests in the New Albuera Cockpit from 2008 until 2014. Under Section 89 (2) of the Local Government Code, it is unlawful for any local government official to directly or indirectly have any interest in any cockpit or other games licensed by a local government unit.
According to the Ombudsman, “considering that respondent held and continued holding such prohibited interest in the cockpit business for most of his incumbency as SB member, such open disregard for the prohibition contained in Section 89 (a) (2) of the Local Government Code for all those years can only be characterized as a willful intent to violate the said provision of law.”
Aside from the dismissal order, the Ombudsman perpetually barred Zaldivar from public service, forfeited all his benefits and canceled his civil service eligibility. The Department of the Interior and Local Government was ordered to implement the Ombudsman’s directive. In case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondent’s one year salary.
Under Section 3(h) of R.A. No. 3019, public officials are prohibited from having a direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction, in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from having any interest therein.