CA denies Ombudsman plea against Leonardia, 8 others

THE Court of Appeals-Visayas Station in Cebu City denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia and eight city executives for lack of merit.

The case involved the procurement of furniture and fixtures for the Bacolod Government Center worth almost P50 million in 2008.

Copies of the decision promulgated on November 28, 2017, distributed to the media yesterday, was signed by Associate Justice Germano Francisco Legaspi and concurred by Executive Justice Gabriel Ingles and Associate Justice Marilyn Lagura-Yap.

On September 6, 2017, the CA reversed the dismissal order against Leonardia, lawyer Goldwyn Nifras, Luzviminda Treyes, Nelson Sedillo Sr., Belly Aguillon, Aladino Agbones, Jaries Ebenizer Encabo, Melvin Recabar, and Eduardo Ravena.

On October 4, 2017, public respondents Office of the Ombudsman and the Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office of the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas filed a motion for reconsideration.

Petitioner Leonardia then filed a comment/opposition on November 3, 2017.

Meanwhile, on October 24, 2017, petitioners Nifras, Treyes, Sedillo, Aguillon, Ravena, Agbones, Encabo and Recabar filed an opposition.

The four-page decision stated that after a meticulous review of the records, the Court find that aside from raising the failure to exhaust administrative remedies and questioning the backwages awarded to petitioners Ravena and Recabar, all other issues and arguments laid down by public respondents are basically mere rehash of those that have been judiciously scrutinized and exhaustedly discussed at length by this Court in its September 6 decision.

Thus, public respondents failed to assert any new and substantial matter that would invalidate this Court's findings.

Indubitably, there is no ground to hold petitioners Leonardia, Nifras, Treyes, Sedillo, Aguillon, Agbones and Encabo administratively liable for the offense charged, the order stated.

Likewise, this Court's finding that petitioner Ravena and Recabar should only be held administratively liable for simple misconduct and not for grave misconduct stands, it further stated.
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