THE Court of Appeals (CA) junked the appeal of a former town treasurer, whom the anti-graft office dismissed from service for dishonesty.

The appellate court ruled that the appeal filed by Anita Deleña, former Oslob municipal treasurer, ought to be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies prior to the filing of the petition.

“Appellant (Deleña) should have filed an appeal by certiorari directly to the Supreme Court,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Marilyn Lagura-Yap.

Executive Justice Gabriel Ingles and Associate Justice Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla concurred.

In 2001, the Ombudsman Visayas dismissed from the service Deleña and her co-respondents for dishonesty and ordered to have all their benefits forfeited.

Deleña filed a motion for reconsideration, but the Ombudsman denied it.

In March 2002, Deleña retired from government service and received P739,171.80 as five-year lump sump retirement benefit from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

In 2004, the Regional Trial Court in Oslob town acquitted Deleña of gross negligence.

On Aug. 28, 2007, the GSIS received a written protest against Deleña's claim for retirement benefit and was informed of her case before the Ombudsman.

Consequently, the GSIS suspended the payment of Deleña’s monthly pension and sent to her several demand letters requiring the return of the retirement benefit she received.

Deleña responded to GSIS' demand letters, saying that since she has been acquitted in the criminal case, she cannot be compelled to return the benefits she already

received.

In 2008, Deleña filed a case that sought to stop the GSIS from making demands for a refund and to compel it to pay her monthly pension.

In 2010, the lower court dismissed Deleña's civil suit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

The court also ordered Deleña to refund to the GSIS the the amount of P739,171, plus 12 percent annual interest.

Deleña appealed the court ruling before the CA, arguing that the court committed serious error in directing her to refund the lump sum she received.

She claimed that retirement benefits due her are exempt from legal processes, including the decision of the Ombudsman.

The appeals court justices dismissed Deleña's appeal for failure to exhaust administrative remedies prior to the filing of appeal.

“An appeal erroneously taken to the Court of Appeals shall not be transferred to the appropriate court but shall be dismissed outright,” the justices ruled.

Likewise, the justices pointed out that the appeal revealed that its resolution does not call for the appreciation of evidence.

The ultimate issue of the case is whether or not Deleña is entitled to the retirement benefit.

“There is only doubt as to the correct application of law and jurisprudence under the circumstance, and one need not examine the probative value of evidences presented to resolve this,” the justices ruled.