Ombudsman sanctions Leyte official, 6 others in Samar

CATBALOGAN CITY -- Seven government officials from Eastern Visayas were administratively sanctioned by the Office of Ombudsman Visayas for their alleged malfeasance in office.

Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente, in a decision released earlier, ordered the dismissal from service of Sergio Batistis Jr., Municipal Council member of Albuera, Leyte, when he was found out to be guilty of serious dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Batistis was also meted the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office and barred from taking the Civil Service examination with forfeiture of retirement benefits.

A complainant said that Batistis was involved in the selling of fake certificates of appearance and receipts to interested participants of the Philippine Councilor’s League (PCL) National Board meetings.

The Ombudsman said Batistis, in June 2015, was entrapped and arrested for selling falsified PCL official receipts and certificates of appearance.

“When arrested, he was found in possession of 22 pieces of fake PCL receipts, 28 fake certificates of registration and P103,500 in cash,” the decision said.

Clemente said “(the) respondent’s act is not only reprehensible but must not be countenanced.”

With this, the Ombudsman ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Eastern Visayas to implement the penalty, and copies must be furnished to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Civil Service Commission (CSC), Commission on Audit (CA) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

In similar cases, the Ombudsman also found officials of Guiuan town, in Eastern Samar, namely, Arsenio Salamida, Esperanza Cotin, Ma. Nenita Ecleo, Felipe Padual, Danilo Colandog and Gilberto Labicane guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and were ordered suspended without pay for six months and one day.

Based on investigation, the respondents, acting as members of the municipal Bids and Awards Committee, authorized the procurement of a P2.1-million remanufactured fire truck without public bidding in February 2007.

The respondents authorized the acquisition through negotiated procurement by making it appear that two public biddings were previously conducted. The contract, purchase order and disbursement voucher were all processed in one day.

Clemente ordered the mayor of Guiuan town to implement the penalty and in case of separation from service, he said the suspension is convertible to a fine equivalent to respondents six months’ salary. (Ricky Bautista/Sunnex)

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