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This resolves the Letter-Complaint filed by Patrick A. Reyes against Land

Management Officer II (formerly Land Investigator Officer) Joseph Sancho (Sancho for
brevity) of CENRO Mobo Masbate for alleged grave misconduct.

The facts of the case can be summarized as follows:

On March 16, 2017, this office received a letter-complaint from Patrick A. Reyes
and Analyn Reyes (Patrick and Analyn, respectively) seeking for assistance, speedy
intervention and action relative to his protest No. 0156-2016 in 2011 against Elmo
Betonio (Betonio for brevity), Liezel Bagaan (Bagaan for brevity) and Sancho.

In the said letter-complaint, complainant alleged as follows: that he has been in

actual and physical possession of a foreshore lot containing an area of 3,520 square
meters located at Brgy. Espinosa, Masbate City since 1997; while being in possession of
the subject lot and after he introduced improvements amounting to no less than
P800,000.00, Bagaan who is a student and staying with Sancho filed for a
Miscellaneous Lease Application docketed as FLA No. 054111-914 over the foreshore
lot; that Bagaan executed a Waiver of Right in favor of Betonio, who is a good friend of
Sancho; that Sancho and other DENR officers who inspected the area promised, after
he gave some money that the FLA application will be given to him to fill up and to file
as well as to pay the same to PENRO Masbate; and that by conspiracy of Sancho,
Bagaan and Betonio, he was set aside and deprived of a valid and actual possession of
the subject lot since 2011 up to present.

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In support of his letter-complaint, he submitted the following documents to wit:
copy of his complaint which was received by CENRO Mobo on December 22, 2015;
F.L.A. of Bagaan docketed as FLA No. 054111-914; Waiver and Transfer of Portion of
Foreshore Rights executed by Bagaan in favor of Betonio; Notice of Extra-Judicial
Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgage under Act 3135, as amended; Certification from
Brgy. Captain Ronnie G. Atanoso; Affidavit of Jose Verano and Jiptha Valladores;
Certification from Brgy Captain Rodel F. Guiz that Patrick is the actual and present
occupant of the said foreshore lot; Deed of Possession and Ownership of the Foreshore
Land indicating therein that Patrick has been in adverse, public, open, continuous and
uninterrupted possession of the said lot since 1997; Protest of Patrick against Bagaan
which was received by CENRO Mobo on July 28, 2011; Joint Affidavit duly executed by
Rolo C. Dumangas and Jean D. Cantonjos, complainant’s neighbor’s in the said
barangay, Manifestation of Patrick against Bagaan dated February 15, 2013;
Supplemental to the Complaint and Protest with Motion for Speedy Investigation and
Action filed by Patrick dated February 13, 2016; and Tax declaration of Real Property in
the name of Betonio.

On June 16, 2017, this office issued a memorandum to LMO II Joseph Sancho
directing him to submit his Answer to the allegations of Patrick.

On July 3, 2017, Sancho submitted his Answer and vehemently denied all the
allegations contained in the complaint. According to Sancho, complainant herein
already filed a complaint against him with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for
Luzon on July 23, 2012 docketed as OMB-L-A-11-0669-J for grave abuse of authority
(oppression) and conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the service. In the said
complaint, Patrick accused him of using Bagaan as a “dummy” in applying for a
Miscellaneous Lease Application over the subject lot; that Patrick knows for a fact that
Bagaan is not a resident of Brgy. Espinosa, Masbate City and is not in actual possession
of the applied area; that Bagaan is a student of Osmeña Colleges, Masbate City and not
a head of the family which would qualify her as a permittee of the said applied
foreshore area; that Bagaan is staying and living in the house of the Sancho hence, he
was used only by the latter as a dummy; furthermore Sancho manipulated Bagaan to
execute a Deed of Waiver and Transfer of Portion of Foreshore Rights in favor of
Betonio just to circumvent the Miscellaneous Lease Application of Bagaan.

However, the said complaint was dismissed by the Ombudsman in its Decision
dated October 30, 2012 on the ground that there was no evidence to show that Sancho

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manipulated the alleged application and transfer of the Miscellaneous Lease Application
of Bagaan. Likewise, the Ombudsman said that the same was a mere speculation and
conjecture unsupported by clear and convincing evidence to show that respondent
violated his oath of office or performed his duty to the prejudice of Patrick.

After perusal of the letter-complaint filed by Patrick and the Answer of Sancho as
well as its attached documents, there was no sufficient evidence to warrant Sancho’s
involvement on the alleged manipulation of the Miscellaneous Lease Application of
Bagaan. Patrick alleged that Sancho used Bagaan as his dummy in the application for
the miscellaneous lease on the mere basis that Bagaan was staying at Sancho’s
residence. However, no single evidence was submitted to substantiate his allegation
that it was indeed Sancho who had interest over the lease application. Moreover,
though it may be said that Bagaan is staying at Sancho’s residence such fact alone does
not establish any interest of Sancho over the lease application. Although it may create
suspicion, the latter is not sufficient to warrant an administrative finding of guilt.

Furthermore, the foregoing allegations have already been passed upon and
decided by the Office of the Ombudsman in its Decision dated October 30, 2012.

On the other hand, Patrick purportedly stated in his letter-complaint that he gave
some money to Sancho and other DENR officers in exchange of the latter’s promise that
the application will be given to him. But then again, he failed to present any evidence
that would link Sancho and other DENR officers of receiving money from him.

In administrative proceedings, the quantum of proof necessary for a finding of

guilt is substantial evidence, i.e., that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Further, the complainant has
the burden of proving by substantial evidence the allegations in his complaint. The basic
rule is that mere allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to proof.1 Reliance on
mere allegation, conjectures and suppositions will leave an administrative complaint
with no leg to stand on.2

Finally, the Court has stressed time and again that allegations must be proven by
sufficient evidence because mere allegation is definitely not evidence.3 Charges based
on mere suspicion and speculation likewise cannot be given credence. Hence, when the

Manalabe v. Cabie, A.M. No. P-05-1984, July 6, 2007
Alfonso v. Ignacio, 487 Phil. 1, 7 (2004).
Real v. Sangu Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 168757, January 19, 2011.

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complainant relies on mere conjectures and suppositions, and fails to substantiate his
allegations, the complaint must be dismissed for lack of merit.4

WHEREFORE, premised from the foregoing, the Complaint filed by Patrick A.

Reyes against Land Management Officer II Joseph Sancho is hereby DISMISSED for
lack of merit.


Legazpi City, Philippines.

OIC, Regional Director

Copy Furnished:

Patrick A. Reyes
Brgy. Espinosa
Masbate City

Joseph L. Sancho
Masbate City


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