THE Office of the Ombudsman has ordered a one-month suspension to former Lupon town Mayor Domingo Lim of Davao Oriental after he was found guilty for simple neglect of duty.
The Ombudsman, in a press statement posted on their official website on Thursday, October 12, said Lim's culpability stemmed from his blatant refusal to implement the Ombudsman's September 17, 2015 decision ordering the dismissal of municipal employees Zaldy Cole, Jonel Delmonte, Renato Lanos, Rhulan Patiño Sr., Romeo Rosauro and Sani Hanani.
This, despite being reminded twice in 2015 on the immediate executory nature of the decision of the Ombudsman and the repercussion of the refusal or failure to comply with the dismissal order.
Ombudsman junked Lim's defense that he merely exercised prudence in seeking the legal opinion of Ombudsman Mindanao because he is not learned in the law.
Lim also earlier claimed that he should be guided by the Ombudsman in implementing the dismissal order in the midst of the "grey areas" that arose from the legal remedies availed of by Cole, et. al.
According to the Ombudsman, it is clear from the provision that when a public official has been found guilty of an administrative charge by the office and the penalty imposed is suspension of more than a month, just like in the current case, an appeal may be made to the Court of Appeals.
But such appeal shall not stop the decision from being executory and the implementation of the decision follows as a matter of course, the Ombudsman added.
The Ombudsman, in a decision, also said that the disciplinary authority of the office does not end with a recommendation to punish, but goes further as to directly impose the appropriate sanctions on the erring public officials and employees, like removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure or criminal prosecution.
It added that the imposition of administrative sanctions is not merely advisory or recommendatory but mandatory.
According to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Lim has no reason to defer the implementation of the dismissal order against Cole, et. al. and his failure to execute the administrative sanction is a ground for disciplinary action.
Simple neglect of duty is defined as "the failure to give proper attention to a task expected of an employee resulting from either carelessness or indifference".
In the event of separation from service, the penalty will be converted to a fine in the amount of his one month's salary.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on October 13, 2017.
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