The Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday ordered the dismissal of Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Commissioner Alfredo Y. Po after finding him guilty of having demanded and received a commission from the rentals paid by the PRC for its satellite office in Baguio City.
In a May 16 decision, the Ombudsman found Po liable for grave misconduct and violation of Republic Act 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Po was also imposed the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the government service.
The case stems from a complaint from Ernesto de los Santos, the owner of a building in Baguio City that was being leased by the PRC for its Baguio office.
De los Santos alleged that in November 2012, he went to Po’s office to collect the checks representing the PRC’s security deposit. He said that Po demanded from him a monthly commission of P42,800.
He said Po warned him that if he did not comply, the lease contract would be cancelled, prompting De los Santos to pay P84,000, representing Po’s commission for October and November 2012.
According to De los Santos, Po then remarked that the amount was not enough and demanded a broker’s commission of P394,000, threatening to hold up the release of the checks.
After De los Santos reported the matter to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), an entrapment operation was set up on Dec. 5, 2012, in Po’s PRC office in Manila, where De los Santos went to deliver to Po P394,000 representing the broker’s commission.
In a counter-affidavit, Po denied De los Santos’ allegations, claiming that he could not have intervened in the approval of the lease contract as he was not a member of the bids and awards committee and that he signed the lease contract as a mere witness.
Po also faces four separate charges in the Sandiganbayan.—Cynthia D. Balana