The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed the kidnapping charges filed against former Negros Oriental Gov. Jose A. Baldado for lack of merit.
In a 12-page Resolution dated July 5, 2011, Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro approved the recommendation of Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Francis Euston Acero and Preliminary Investigation, Administrative Adjudication and Review Bureau Director Mary Antonette P. Yalao to dismiss the charge filed against Baldado and Romeo F. Sablada, a tanod of barangay Candabong, Manjuyod town, in March 5, 2010.
Baldado and Sablada were charged with Kidnapping, Serious Illegal Detention Grave Coercion and Child Abuse at the height of last year’s campaign period, where Baldado, who at that time was vice-governor, was a candidate for governor.
The charge was based on the complaint of minor Baltazar Gomez, through the assistance of his parents Artilano P. Gomez and Riza Angkahas, before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Negros Oriental.
The complainant alleged that he was abducted in Manjuyod town on February 15, 2010 by two men who were riding in tandem on a motorcycle. While their faces were masked, he later identified one of them as Sablada.
He said he was taken to the house of Baldado, who allegedly threatened to kill him and his family unless his father agreed to settle a certain court case.
Both Baldado and Sablada denied the charges and said they were somewhere else at the time of the alleged abduction of Gomez. (Alex Rey Pal)