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Ombudsman junks case vs suspended Tabuk City, Kalinga mayor

BAGUIO CITY —Tabuk City, Kalinga province Mayor Darwin Estranero will be back to work on April 1 after the case filed against him in connection to the alleged overpricing of medical equipment for his town was dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman. 

Estranero said that he has “no regret in serving the people who trusted” him after he was accused of taking advantage of the worst situation in his town.

He said that he just “prioritized the immediacy of the needs" of his people.

“Because I stood my ground in doing the things which I know in my conscience was just right, I was ordered suspended (for 6 months) last year," the mayor said.

The Ombudsman recommended the filing of a case against Estranero for violating Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-graft and Corrupt Practices Act for the purchase of alleged overpriced medical equipment and supplies.  

In its latest decision through an 11-page order issued this month, however, the Ombudsman ruled “that the allegations of overpricing in the city government's purchase of medical supplies and devices at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was not adequately established in the eight cases that were filed".

Estranero welcomed this new ruling.

“For peace of mind, I respected the earlier decision as I know that truth shall prevail as it was said a thousand times that it shall set us all free. I also looked at my suspension in a positive way as a perfect timing to have more time in reflecting and taking little rest from the hectic schedules of being in the executive branch of the City Government and think of more efficient ways of serving the people when I resume my mandate," the mayor said.

The Tabuk chief also stressed that he will never think of vengeance against his detractors. He thanked the people who believed in his good intentions and those who continue to support him amid suspension.