Senate legal counsel says Villanueva can’t be fired
The Senate “cannot and should not” implement the dismissal order by the Office of the Ombudsman on Sen. Joel Villanueva not only because he has a pending appeal before it but also because the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over a member of Congress, among others.
This was the opinion of the Senate legal counsel which cited four reasons why the dismissal order against Villanueva cannot be implemented, according to a Nov. 21 briefer released by Villanueva’s office to the media Tuesday night.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales had ordered Villanueva’s dismissal from public service over the allegedly anomalous use of P10 million of his pork barrel allocation as a member of the House in 2008.
Morales had directed Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III to implement the dismissal order.
According to the Senate legal counsel, there was no basis to implement the Ombudsman’s order because it was not yet final and executory since the office still has to act on the motion for reconsideration that Villanueva filed.
It also said that the Ombudsman “has no disciplinary authority over members of Congress” in keeping with Section 21 of Republic Act no. 6770 or the Ombudsman’s Act of 1989.
The Senate legal counsel said that at the time of the act complained of, Villanueva was the representative of the Citizens Battle Against Corruption party list group.
It also argued that the alleged offense happened in 2008 but the complaint was filed on Aug. 7, 2015, or “way beyond the one-year period under the Ombudsman Act.”
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