Ombud suspends Cebu village chief-A A +A
Friday, September 20, 2013
CEBU CITY -- The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas suspended Kamagayan village chief Celestino Avila for five months without pay after he was found guilty of “simple misconduct” in connection with a “punching” incident in May 2012.
In the suspension order signed by the Ombudsman Visayas on July 26, 2013, misconduct was defined as “a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public officer.”
The case stemmed from a complaint filed on May 29, 2012 by Orlando T. Adarne, who was allegedly punched by the respondent while he was keeping score of a volleyball game exhibition in the village on May 26, 2012.
Adarne, in his complaint, said that prior to the punching incident, Avila's sister, Lope, was hit by a volley ball in the head, damaging her eyeglasses.
Lope approached Adarne to ask who would shoulder the expenses for her broken eyeglasses, but the complainant cannot give her an answer.
The matter was resolved when village councilwoman Racquel Avila, whose husband is the village chief’s nephew, intervened and promised Lope to have her eyeglasses fixed and shoulder the medical expenses for any injury she sustained.
"Out of nowhere, respondent suddenly appeared and repeatedly punched complainant's face. Respondent then shouted the following words to the complainant: Palabana kung naa kay gisaligan! (Go ahead! Look for somebody who will defend you!)," said Adarne in his complaint.
Village chief Avila, however, denied Adarne’s allegations, saying he was having his dinner and found out about the incident from a barangay tanod (village watchman) Rolando Huguete.
The respondent said that he told Hugeute to keep an eye on the incident.
Despite his denial, the Ombudsman found Avila’s act “falling short of the exacting standards of public office, especially for those charged to oversee the peace and order of a barangay sponsored activity.”
“Further, respondent’s defense of denial and alibi are inherently weak defenses. Denial is a self-serving negative evidence while alibi is a weak defense as it is easy to concoct and fabricate. Both defenses cannot be given greater weight than the declaration of credible witnesses who testified on affirmative matters,” the decision read.
In an interview on Friday with Sun.Star website, Avila said that the suspension is politically motivated, especially that he is on his last term as village chief of Kamagayan.
“Politika. Politika. Politika. Kay wa ko mu-endorso nila mao na nga suko kaayo sila nako. (Politics. Politics. Politics. Because, I did not endorse them that is why they are mad at me),” he said.
Sun.Star learned that Racquel, wife of Avila’s nephew, is running for barangay captain in this year’s village elections.
Avila said that he will seek advice from his lawyer regarding the suspension.
He said he will run for councilor in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in October this year. (JAC/Sunnex)