Ombud drops misconduct complaint against five Jagobiao councilors-A A +A
Saturday, October 27, 2012
THE anti-graft body dropped the charges against five officials of Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City who were accused of ridiculing their former barangay secretary who has leprosy.
Graft Investigator Maria Corazon Vergara-Naraja said there was not enough evidence to indict Jagobiao Barangay Councilors Joselito Bacus, Gladys Dumalagan, Danilo Elbao Sr., Henry Alivio and Lino Lidres for misconduct.
Wanting to replace complainant Manuel Villaflor because he has Hansen’s disease does not constitute verbal ridicule, Naraja said.
Villaflor charged the five councilors with violating the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.
Villaflor has disfigured fingers as result of his affliction.
He said the councilors’ memo stating his replacement as secretary was meant to ridicule and defame him.
According to the memo, Villaflor, as a result of his disability, is incompetent because he cannot type or encode the minutes of meetings, resolutions and ordinances and he has to rely on other staffers to perform his duties.
But Villaflor said no one questioned his work performance in his 22 years in public service, adding that he can use the typewriter and prepare barangay resolutions without help.
Loss of self-esteem
He said the councilors’ memo insulted him, which affected his self-esteem.
But the councilors, in their joint counter-affidavit, said the memo was “made in good faith.”
They said Villaflor does not have a complete set of fingers, which prevents him from encoding data on the computer.
In the decision, Naraja gave credence to the councilors’ argument.
“Complainant’s contention that the forgoing statement draws ridicule and vilification towards his physical disability fails to convince this office,” she said.
Apart from the complainant’s physical disability, the councilors also cited Villaflor’s alleged arrogance, misconduct and inefficiency in performing his duty.
“The statement was not, by any measure, abusive, slanderous or offensive,” Naraja said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 28, 2012.