'Uphill battle': Paredes on officials facing dismissal

AN incumbent public official facing dismissal from service by the anti-graft office may file a petition for review on certiorari and question the penalty imposed before the Supreme Court.

But the legal remedy may be an “uphill battle” for a sacked government official, said retired Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge Meinrado Paredes.

The dismissed official may ask the High Court for the issuance of a preliminary mandatory injunction to stop the dismissal order, said Paredes, former executive judge of the RTC Cebu City.

Paredes was asked about legal remedies that a sacked public official may avail himself of.

The Office of the Ombudsman sacked Aloguinsan Mayor Augustus Caesar Moreno, his wife and former mayor Cynthia, and five bids and awards committee (BAC) membersover the allegedly anomalous purchase of food supplies worth P287,725 in 2010.

Apart from dismissal, the anti-graft office also recommended the filing of a string of criminal cases for violation of Republic Act (RA) 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, against them before the Sandiganbayan.

The respondents failed to comply with the procurement process in buying the food supplies, the ombudsman said.

Augustus Caesar and Cynthia will be charged separately with violation of Section 3(h) of RA 3019.

Cynthia will be charged separately with violation of Section 9, in relation to Section 11 of RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standard for Public Officials and Employees).

If the dismissal penalty can no longer be enforced due to respondent's separation from government service, the penalty shall be converted into a fine equivalent to a year's salary, Paredes said.

Mayor Moreno, when sought comment on Tuesday, said that they will file a motion for reconsideration on the ombudsman's resolution.

Interviewed over the phone, Paredes, a University of Cebu College of Law professor, said that the civil action in the filing of appeal by certiorari is in accordance with Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court.

If the petition is given due course, Paredes said, the High Court may issue the preliminary injunction to reinstate the public official.
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