Thursday , June 21, 2018

Ombud suspends Carcar official for refusal to issue fence permit

THE Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has suspended for one year without pay an official of Carcar City for his alleged refusal to issue a fencing permit to a landowner last year.

Eleanor Tayad-de Mira, graft investigation and prosecution officer, found Santiago Saducas-Calinawan Jr., Carcar City Engineering Office chief, liable of grave abuse of authority/oppression and Republic Act 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

“Despite the complainant’s submission of all the requirements, respondent gravely abused his authority when he refused to issue the fencing permit even after the lapse of a considerable period of time,” read de Mira’s11-page decision.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by one Alejandra Aleonar, who accused Calinawan of violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Aleonar, who owns a parcel of land in Barangay Cogon, Poblacion I, Carcar City, said that her representative filed an application for fencing permit last Jan. 13, 2016.

By the end of January 2016, Aleonar’s representative followed up on the fencing permit application but was told by the Building Official of Carcar City, headed by Calinawan, that it cannot issue the permit due to a pending case involving the property.

Aleonar’s son, Alvin, called Calinawan about their pending fencing permit, but the latter told the former that he could not issue the permit since Carcar City Councilor Harold Nacua told him of the supposed pending case over the same property.

Alvin asked for a copy of the complaint so they could respond, but the city engineer failed to give any document to them.

Alvin said he submitted the required documents for such permit, but Calinawan refused to issue them the fencing permit after 15 days from the time they filed the application.

Replying to the charges, Calinawan said that Aleonar merely made a “sweeping” accusations that he violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

He said he immediately acted on Aleonar’s fencing application when she filed it in January 2016 and that the corresponding building was issued on Feb. 18, 2016. When Aleonar’s son visited his office to follow-up about the fencing permit, Calinawan said he informed him about Councilor Nacua’s opposition to their application.

De Mira, the graft investigator, held that Calinawan “excessively” used his authority when he gave weight to the unsubstantiated allegations of Councilor Nacua about the pending case involving Aleonar’s property.

“Respondent’s excessive use of his authority becomes more evident when he readily gave credence to the unsubstantiated allegations of Councilor Nacua of a pending case involving the property to be fenced, without even verifying the veracity of the same,” the decision read.

If the suspension cannot be enforced due to the respondent’s separation from the service, the ombudsman said the penalty shall be converted into a fine equivalent to his six months salary. (GMD)