BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Department of Justice has called on the Ombudsman to take appropriate action on the complaints against the operation of the Victorias Milling Company distillery plant in Brgy. Purisima, Manapla, Negros Occidental.
“Considering that the case has already been filed with your good office, we trust that you will give this matter your appropriate action,” Justice Assistant Secretary Neal Vincent Bainto said in his letter to Ombudsman Samuel Martirez.
Residents of Brgy. Purisima alleged that the continued operation of the VMC Distillery is illegal, and that no action has been taken by concerned government offices despite their complaints.
On October 12 last year, the group of Ricky Flores filed a complaint before the Ombudsman against Cresencio Sombero, Manuel Escalante II, Ramar Niel Pascua, Minnie Chua, and several John Does.
The complainants want the respondents to be dismissed from service with forfeiture of benefits and perpetual disqualification from public office, proper civil liabilities to be imposed upon all respondents as compensation for the damage done to the people and the environment, and to make proper and needed rehabilitation, after being found guilty.
They also want the respondents to be ordered to issue the necessary resolution/order for the immediate closure of the VMC distillery that they claimed has been operating without the necessary permits.
The complainants also urged the Ombudsman to place public respondent/s under preventive suspension, in order not to exercise any undue influence on the matter, and to issue a temporary restraining order, or preliminary injunction to VMC distillery plant in the barangay, that they claimed is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Pursuant to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte, in a memorandum dated Oct. 27 last year, Bainto said the DOJ is directed to investigate the allegations of corruption in the entire government.
He added that the DOJ has been “authorized to decide which allegations to investigate, prosecute, and to file appropriate charges against those involved in the anomalies investigated.”*