3 City officials sacked, face charges

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Sunday, March 30, 2014


ASIDE from being dismissed from service by the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas, three officials of the Cebu City Engineer’s Office will face trial after they were indicted on criminal charges.

Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Edsel Ensomo found enough evidence to charge June Nadine Sison, assistant city engineer; Juanito Pua Jr., construction division head; and Joel Pasatiempo, project engineer, with violation of Republic Act (RA) 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Official and Employees.

Ensomo charged the three officials with three counts of violating the law’s Section 7(d), which prohibits public employees from soliciting and accepting gifts “in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.”

The officials allegedly conspired to demand a “high tech camera and computer unit” from complainant Robert Montenegro, owner of FE&A Construction Services in 2012.

They further told Montenegro to allow them to subcontract city-funded projects using a dummy.

Pua was charged separately with three counts of violating RA 6713’s Section 7(d) for allegedly soliciting volleyball uniforms worth P18,000 and P30,000 from Montenegro.

Another three counts of violating Section 7(d) was charged against Pasatiempo for allegedly soliciting construction materials worth P38,177.75 on separate occasions.

Ensomo said the officials’ “mere act of soliciting a high tech camera, a computer unit, among other items, from complainant consummates or makes out for the offense.”

The three officials, in their counter-affidavit, denied the allegations against them.

Deputy Ombudsman Pelagio Apostol ordered Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to implement the dismissal.

Sison, Pua, and Pasatiempo were suspended for six months without pay by Apostol in February last year.

In his complaint, Montenegro said his company received an order, dated January 23, 2012, suspending all contracted work under the City’s Project Cluster 4.

The businessman alleged that Sison and company also refused to release the P150,000 retention money for a road-concreting project he implemented, even though he submitted a project completion report on June 11, 2012.

His employees Dionisio Parba and Mark Khem Aguilella, executed a joint-affidavit supporting his allegation against the engineers.

They said they saw Sison, Pua, and Pasatiempo demand a computer and a camera from Montenegro.

“In the civil service,” said Ensomo, “public servants must display at all times the highest sense of honesty and integrity, for no less than the Constitution mandates the principle that public office is a public trust; and all public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people and serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. Here, respondents all failed to observe it.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 31, 2014.

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