Accountant back at Capitol, gets P3M backwages-A A +A
Thursday, September 12, 2013
DISMISSED provincial accountant Merly Fortu has reported back to her work effective Wednesday in compliance with the order of the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. ordered the reinstatement of Fortu who was dismissed from her position because of a complaint from former Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez, Jr.
Marañon’s order dated September 10 came after the CSC dismissed the appeal of the provincial government in its final decision dated May 2013.
The CSC’s first decision ordering the reinstatement of Fortu was issued last September 13, 2011.
Fortu, who started reporting to her old post Tuesday is set to receive more or less P3 million in backwages and benefits covering the period from July 7, 2011 to September 9, 2013.
It is not clear yet, though, whether Fortu will receive her backwages and benefits in a lump sum or on installments.
It can be recalled that Fortu was dismissed from her position after an investigation committee formed by the Provincial Government found her guilty of grave misconduct complaint hurled against her by Alvarez.
Fortu, however, appealed her dismissal to the CSC, acquired a favorable decision from the agency, which ordered her reinstatement, as well as the release of her back salaries and benefits in September 2011. However, this was appealed by the Provincial Government.
Fortu’s dismissal stemmed from a complaint filed by Alvarez accusing her of hostility and arrogance when the latter was asked to explain the delayed processing of purchase orders and requests for reimbursements of expenses of Provincial Board members.
Alvarez, in his complaint, then said that this happened in a meeting on July 1, 2010 where “out of the blue, Fortu spoke in a raised voice, denying any fault of her office.”
In the complaint, Alvarez further pointed out that instead of politely explaining how things work in her office, Fortu allegedly exchange heated words with him and arrogantly challenged and agitated all persons present during the meeting to take court action.
However, in its decision, the CSC said that Fortu’s inadvertently raising her voice while engaging the vice governor in a heated argument cannot be considered as one constituting the administrative offense of grave misconduct.
The CSC in its first decision also admonished Fortu to be more circumspect in her dealings with her superiors to avoid a repeat of the situation that led to her dismissal.
It also stressed that as defined, “misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public officer,” the CSC said, adding that Fortu did not transgress any definite rule of action and neither had she exhibited unlawful behavior to be liable of grave misconduct.
The CSC further said that records showed that Fortu had not uttered any insulting or abrasive language but inadvertently raised her voice at the meeting. “No insulting words were said by respondent, and it was only the level and tone of her voice that complainant found reprehensible,” the decision added.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 12, 2013.