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Bohol governor appeals suspension

MANILA, Philippines — Bohol Gov. Erico Aumentado filed yesterday a motion for reconsideration of the six-month preventive suspension order against him by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the construction of a resort at the foot of Chocolate Hills.

Aumentado expressed dismay over the suspension order, saying the charges filed against him are baseless.

“I am genuinely surprised by this preventive suspension order, ” he said in a statement. “I categorically deny any involvement in the approval of the construction, operation and expansion of Captain’s Peak Resort.”

Aumentado and 68 other local officials, including town mayors, were charged with grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service relative to the construction, operation and expansion of the resort in Canmano, Sagbayan.

Aumentado said he was congressman of the second district of Bohol in 2018 and was not invited to the Protected Area Management Board meeting last year when the development of the resort was approved.

“It is not fair to hold me accountable for decisions made without my knowledge or participation,” he said. “My conscience is clear. I have no hand in that fiasco, whatsoever.”

The resort has no environmental compliance certificate and Special Use Agreement in Protected Areas issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau.

The ombudsman field investigation office said the public respondents ”acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, gross inexcusable negligence and committed gross violations” of the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act and the expanded NIPAS Act.