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Ombudsman suspends city engineer of Marikina, 6 other officials for grave misconduct

MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman slapped a six-month preventive suspension order against Marikina City Engineer and Building Official Kennedy Sueno and six other officials from his department, as they face potential administrative charges for grave misconduct.

The case stems from allegations they solicited bribe money from complainants to expedite the approval of building permits.

The order, signed on June 5 by Ombudsman Samuel Martires and publicized on Monday, June 10, directed Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro to enforce the suspension order, and reminded him that failure to comply could lead to disciplinary action.

“This Office finds sufficient grounds for the issuance of an order for preventive suspension against respondents …considering that there is strong evidence showing their guilt. Their continue stay in office may prejudice the investigation of the case against them,” the resolution read.

Aside from Sueno, other respondents in the case and are the subject of the suspension order are:

The complainants are spouses Brian Geronimo Torres and Agnes Tablante Torres.

The Ombudsman took note of Mayor Teodoro’s supposed involvement in the anomalous scheme, but did not name him as a respondent in the case.

In August 2021, the Torreses, who are residents of Twin River Subdivision in Barangay Parang, Marikina City, sought permits from the city government to construct their house, but struggled in securing those papers.

They alleged that staff from the city engineer’s office pressured them to hand over P430,000 in fees, yet they were only granted a permit seven months later, in March 2022.

They were forced to stop construction work in April of the same year after the city government revoked their permit.

The couple claimed that after they began erecting a fence in November 2021, a string of badgering incidents followed: they were slapped with two violation notices, asked to amend the building plan, served a notice of lack of fire certificate, compelled to secure an exemption for the two-meter setback from the city council, and were visited numerous times by inspectors.

The Torreses sought the Department of Public Works and Highways’