Wrong court: CA tosses out reckless imprudence complaint versus Calamba water execs

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has tossed out—for lack of jurisdiction—the reckless imprudence complaint filed by residents blaming the Calamba Water District (CWD) for a typhoid fever outbreak.

In a recent 8-page decision, the CA 9th Division said the appellate court only has jurisdiction over the administrative disciplinary—not criminal—cases of the Ombudsman.

It noted that the petition questioning the Ombudsman’s alleged grave abuse of discretion in the criminal case should have been filed before the Supreme Court.

“If We were to touch on the merits of this Petition which involves a criminal complaint at the Office of the Ombudsman, We would be going beyond Our jurisdiction and any ruling We make on the matter is void,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Ramon Cruz.

The ill-fated petition arose from the Ombudsman’s move to dismiss the complaint outright, which meant no investigation was held at all.

The Ombudsman issued an April 10, 2017 notice stating that according to a November 25, 2016 evaluator’s report, the complaint filed by residents led by Marissa Gamutin had already filed a similar case that was already dismissed earlier.

The earlier case was dismissed after the Ombudsman concluded that the raw, untreated water of Bucal Spring was not the same water supplied by the CWD. Gamutin’s group refiled the complaint with a new set of evidence.

Cleared in the case were CWD officers Alberto Cervacia, Restituto Sumanga, Venancio Magpantay, Ronnie Muzares, and Nelson Javier.

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