Home » Ports/Terminals, Press Releases » Ombudsman clears two ex-PPA officials of graft charges

The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the graft cases against former Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) general manager Atty. Juan C. Sta. Ana and former assistant general manager for operations Raul T. Santos for lack of merit.

In a joint order dated June 19, 2019 and signed by assistant special prosecutor II Lyn G. Dimayuga, the Ombudsman dismissed both criminal and administrative cases filed in 2016 by Agham Party List against Sta. Ana and Santos for insufficient evidence.

Agham Party List on June 1, 2016 accused the PPA officials of violating Section 3 (e) of Republic Act (RA) No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) for granting DMCIMC, a private port owner and operator, a five-year automatic renewal of port permit from 2013 to 2017 without the requisite foreshore lease agreement.

The joint order effectively reversed and set aside two Ombudsman resolutions—OMB-C-C-16-0291 and OMB-C-A-16-0251, both dated November 28, 2017—which had found probable cause to indict Sta. Ana and Santos for violation of RA 3019. The Ombudsman, citing its authority to re-investigate under Section 15 of R.A. 6770 (The Ombudsman Act of 1989), in the joint resolution said that after thorough re-examination of the cases, it was “convinced that the instant cases should be dismissed due to insufficiency of evidence.”

It added that evidence on record did not demonstrate that Sta. Ana and Santos acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or gross inexcusable negligence for granting DMCIMC automatic renewal of its port permit.

The Ombudsman pointed out that based on the applicable PPA circular, an applicant for port permit renewal may submit a Department of Environment and Natural Resources-approved foreshore lease contract, a provisionary foreshore lease permit, or an official receipt of the annual occupancy fee on or before the first month of every year during the validity of the permit. The Ombudsman said records showed that as early as 2011, DMCIMC had paid its occupancy fees for 2012 to 2014; hence, the grant of a five-year renewable permit was in order, ruled the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman also noted that several mining firms were similarly granted five-year renewable permits from 2012 to 2014, debunking the complainant’s allegations of manifest partiality on the part of the respondents.

The joint order likewise found that contrary to the complainant’s accusation, respondents promptly acted on the complainant’s request for an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the issuance of port permits, as shown by the numerous letters sent by the PPA to the complainant on the actions PPA had taken.

Sta. Ana resigned from PPA in 2015 while Santos was replaced in 2016 after a new administration took over.

 

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