Saturday , June 23, 2018

Ombudsman files appeal vs CA ruling in favor of Leonardia, 8 others

THE Office of the Ombudsman filed a motion for reconsideration before the Court of Appeals (CA) in Cebu City on the CA ruling reversing the dismissal order of the Ombudsman against Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and eight city executives.

The case involved the procurement of furniture and fixtures for the Bacolod Government Center worth almost P50 million in 2008.

Copies of the appeal dated October 4, 2017, distributed to the media Monday, showed the signatories as Asryman Rafanan, Assistant Ombudsman; Christian Uy, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer IV; and Revolette Labitag, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II.

On September 6, the CA reversed the dismissal order against Leonardia, lawyer Goldwyn Nifras, Luzviminda Treyes, Nelson Sedillo Sr., Belly Aguillon, Aladino Agbones, Jaries Ebenizer Encabo, Melvin Recabar, and Eduardo Ravena.

The order stated that the December 2, 2016 joint resolution of the Office of the Ombudsman is modified in that the charges against petitioners Leonardia, Nifras, Treyes, Sedillo Sr., Belly Aguillon, Agbones, and Encabo are dismissed.

Petitioners Recabar and Ravena were found guilty of simple misconduct instead of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty, and meted the penalty of suspension for a period of three months without pay, it further stated.

The order stated that petitioners who have retired or who have not been separated from government service shall be reinstated immediately.

The Ombudsman said they have 15 days or until October 4 to file the motion for reconsideration.

The Ombudsman sought a reconsideration of the September 6 decision on the ground that the petitioners’ appeals should have been dismissed outright, considering that they were prematurely filed as they failed to exhaust an available administrative remedy.

“This Honorable Court seriously erred in modifying the Ombudsman's joint resolution, seriously erred in interpreting the prospective application of the abandonment of the condonation doctrine, and at all events, the Honorable Court gravely erred in awarding backwages to Recabar and Ravena, contrary to Civil Service Commission (CSC) vs Cruz,” the Ombudsman said.

Leonardia said he has yet to receive a copy of the Ombudsman's motion for reconsideration.

“We don’t have a copy of the appeal, but it is already distributed to the media. That is a big question, a suspicious circumstance,” he said.

“Nevertheless, granting that this is genuine and true, it is normal that the Ombudsman will file motion for reconsideration because it is part of the procedure,” Leonardia added.

“In the meantime that there is a motion for reconsideration, my co-respondents cannot get their backwages,” the mayor said.