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Ombudsman clears PAO chief of raps

Persida Rueda AcostaTHE Office of the Ombudsman has cleared Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief, Persida Rueda-Acosta and forensic pathologist Erwin Erfe of criminal and administrative charges arising from the controversial Dengvaxia case.

In a joint resolution received by the PAO last Jan. 14, the Ombudsman said “there is no probable cause for malversation of public funds or property and illegal use of public funds or property” against Acosta and Erfe who heads the PAO forensic laboratory.

The element of wrongful intent to injure third persons was not established. Records show that aside from the PAO’s mandate, the PAO extended legal assistance to the relatives of Dengue vaccine recipients in accordance with the directive from the DOJ,” said the ruling, approved by Ombudsman Samuel Martires.

The complainant, Wilfredo Garrido, Jr., had accused Acosta and Erfe of creating the PAO forensic laboratory without a mandate from Congress.

In clearing the officials, the Ombudsman said Acosta had sought the Department of Budget and Management’s approval on the contracts of services entered with Erfe as a consultant, as well as the creation of a forensic laboratory, which would modify the organizational staffing of the PAO with plantilla positions.

The letters from DBM approved it and established the presumption of regularity, according to the Ombudsman. Philippine News Agency