THE Office of the Ombudsman has denied the motion for reconsideration of a lawyer from the Bureau of Immigration in Mandaue City who was ordered to be dismissed for alleged extortion from a tourist.

In an order, Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente affirmed the dismissal of BID Legal Officer II Serafin Abellon for grave misconduct after he allegedly extorted P25,000 from James Mercier when he was applying for a visa extension in 2013.

Abellon allegedly demanded from Mercier the amount of P25,000 for the processing of his application for tourist visa extension which was to expire on May 27, 2013.

Mercier sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation, which launched an entrapment operation against the suspect, after initially giving him P5,000 and P10,000 in May 2013.

Abellon was entrapped in an operation conducted at his BID office on May 24, 2013 when Mercier gave the suspect another P15,000. The NBI agents recovered from him the P12,000 marked money given by Mercier.

Mercier needed only a total of P3,030 for the renewal of his visa as admitted by the BID special collecting officer, yet the amount of money found in Abellon’s possession was P12,000.

The Ombudsman said that "corruption, as an element of grave misconduct, consists in the act of an official or fiduciary person who unlawfully and wrongfully uses his station or character to procure some benefit for himself...contrary to duty and the rights of others.”

The anti-graft body rejected Abellon’s plea for leniency on account of his 40 years of government service and explained that dismissal from the service is an indivisible penalty which is imposable even on the first offense.

Aside from dismissal, Abellon was meted out the accessory penalties of cancellation of civil service eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.

The Ombudsman directed the BID regional director to implement the decision. (SDR/Sunnex)