THE municipal engineer of San Fernando, Cebu was slapped with a month and a day’s suspension without pay over the allegedly illegal issuance of an electrical permit in 2010.
The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas reversed the dismissal of the case and held Simeon Alidon Lauronal liable for simple misconduct.
“Respondent should have exercised even the simple diligent act of looking over the documents to ensure that complete requirements were submitted with the application he was expected to approve,” reads the nine-page decision penned by Luanne Ivy Cabatingan, graft investigation and prosecution officer.
The case stemmed from the administrative complaint filed by Annabelle Axinto, who accused Lauronal of simple misconduct.
Lauronal allegedly issued the electrical permit for the property of Jerum Aningalan despite the lack of locational clearance from the Municipal Hall in July 2010.
At first, the Ombudsman dismissed the case for lack of evidence, but the complainant filed a motion for reconsideration, which the Ombudsman granted.
Replying to the charges, Lauronal said he issued the electrical permit “in good faith and without any semblance of partiality.”
He reportedly relied on the town’s enforcement division in the processing of the application, which he merely approved.
Lauronal said that his staff scrutinized the documents submitted by the applicant for building, fencing, and electrical permit, among others.
When the complainant’s lawyer objected to the issuance of the electrical permit to Aningalan, Lauronal said he ordered his staff to check the documents and discovered that Aningalan’s electrical permit lacked locational clearance.
Lauronal admitted his lapses but said that such was “not so serious” and should not be entirely blamed on him.
Apart from being the municipal engineer, Lauronal said he also served as the town’s building official.
Due to his work loads, Lauronal said he had to delegate some tasks to his subordinates, such as the processing of permit applications.
Cabatingan, however, said that Lauronal should be held administratively liable for simple neglect of duty.
The anti-graft office also believes that Lauronal should have knowledge on all existing policies, guidelines and procedures in the granting of electrical permit.
The Ombudsman warned Lauronal of stiffer penalty if he commits the same mistake.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on August 29, 2017.
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