Former Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur mayor faces malversation charges

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MANILA, Philippines – The embattled former mayor of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur, faces another case.

The Office of the Ombudsman filed on Tuesday, January 10, charges of malversation against Wilson “Kitty” Nandang for facilitating the release of his salary in August 2011 despite having been placed under preventive suspension.

The Office of the President ordered Nandang’s preventive suspension in 2011 after being found guilty of simple misconduct – defined as “a transgression of some established rule of action, an unlawful behavior, or negligence committed by a public officer.”

It stemmed from a complaint by Labangan’s municipal engineer, who alleged that Nandang forced him to approve anomalous transactions. Malacañang later withdrew its suspension of Nandang because the local government failed to substantiate its claims against the mayor.

However, as prosecutors found eventually, Nandang still received his salary upon his own authorization.

In its resolution, the Ombudsman said “government employees who are preventively suspended pending investigation, such as in this case, are not entitled to the payment of their salaries.”

Other cases

In 2013, multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges were filed against Nandang in relation to the murder of his political rival, then Labangan Mayor Ukol Talumpa, who was gunned down at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3. Talumpa’s wife, nephew, and an 18-month-old baby also died in the attack.

Earlier in 2013, Nandang’s son was killed in an ambush in Lanao del Sur and police sources said Talumpa was behind the attack. (READ: FAST FACTS: Mayor Ukol Talumpa)

It has since been revealed that Nandang is also on the watch list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for allegedly operating Zamboanga del Sur’s notorious Nandang-Afdal drug group.

Nandang evaded arrest in July 2016 when police operatives raided a shabu laboratory in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. He remains at large.

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