By Joseph B.A. Marzan
Ombudsman Samuel Martires on December 20, 2021, approved a Feb. 8, 2021 joint resolution by the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas acquitting Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and City Administrator Melchor Tan of the charges filed by former City Health Office (CHO) chief Bernard Caspe.
The resolution penned by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer III Darius Sagadal found lack of evidence in Caspe’s claims that Treñas and Tan forced him to resign from office.
Treñas and Tan refuted Caspe’s allegations through an affidavit filed by then-CHO medical officer and now CHO chief Annabel Tang.
“Basic is the rule that the party who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it. Here, [the] complainant did not submit any evidence to support his allegations,” the resolution stated.
“Complainant’s allegation that respondents [Treñas and Tan] unlawfully coerced him to resign is not supported by evidence. Mere allegations are not evidence. Respondents, on the other hand, were able to submit evidence to dispute complainant’s allegation,” it also said.
Caspe accused Treñas and Tan in 2019 of Grave Misconduct, Oppression, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, and violation of the norms of “Justness and Sincerity” under Section 4(A)(c) of Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees).
The former local health chief alleged that Tan was instructed by Treñas, who had just won the 2019 election, to tell him to resign “or else Treñas would make his life miserable.”
Tan also allegedly relayed the same instruction on July 4, 2019, shortly after the mayor took office.
Caspe also alleged that Treñas had called on incumbent city officials under former mayor Jose Espinosa III to resign, accusing them of electioneering and immorality.
He cited executive orders issued by Treñas since July 1, 2019, which bore Tan’s name instead of his, saying that while he was still physically reporting to his office, he was “receiving only insults and disrespect” from the mayor and Tan.
Treñas refuted the claims in his counter-affidavit, saying he had no influence over Tan to do such a thing since he was not mayor then.
Tan also belied Caspe’s claims, saying that their May 14 conversation was about a woman who was going to file an immorality suit against him, and that they never talked about his support for Espinosa.
Daily Guardian reached out to Treñas but he has yet to respond as of this writing.