By Czarina Nicole Ong
An official from the Office of the Ombudsman was entrapped by operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for trying to extort money from local officials in Pangasinan in exchange for assurance that the complaints against them would be dropped.
Leonardo Nicolas, an Associate Graft Investigation Officer III (AGIO III), was caught on July 21, 2017 by joint operatives of the NBI and Ombudsman in a resort in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
Nicolas was with his cousin, Isagani Nicolas, a labor arbiter from Dagupan, when they received P3 million marked money from local officials. He was even caught with a bogus copy of an Evaluation Report, which was supposedly by the Field Investigation Office. This was what he presented in exchange for the money.
The following day after the entrapment, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales ordered inquest proceeding against the Nicolas cousins. They are set to face charges for Direct Bribery, violation of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and violation of R.A. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
They will also be facing multiple administrative charges. Aside from that, the two were slapped with preventive suspension orders for a period of six months.
Morales condemned their extortion try and said in a statement that “the Ombudsman does not condone any form of corruption among its ranks. We will not let up in the campaign to remove undesirables in government service.”
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