SC rejects tipster’s bid to compel gov’t to release his P272M reward
MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has dismissed the bid of an oil smuggling tipster to compel the government to release his second claim for a cash reward worth oP272 million for providing information that led to the discovery of smuggled oil products worth P4 billion.
In a three-page resolution, the high court’s First Division dismissed outright the petition for certiorari and mandamus filed by Felicito Mejorado for going straight to the Supreme Court instead of exhausting all possible legal remedies first.
The court said Mejorado committed “fatal error” when he went directly to them instead of filing an appeal with the Office of the President.
Mejorado went to the Supreme Court after the Department of Finance-Committee on Rewards (DOF-COR) denied his bid for the immediate release of his reward claims.
The court said the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies requires that a party aggrieved by an order should first appeal to the higher authority before seeking judicial relief.
“Since Mejorado did not pursue the administrative remedies available to him, his petition for certiorari and mandamus cannot prosper,” read the High Court’s resolution.
Mejorado reportedly wrote to President Rodrigo Duterte to fast-track the release of his long-delayed reward, reiterating that through his initiative in reporting “oil smuggling mafia” in this international seaport, the government was able to collect P4 billion from the smuggling syndicates.
He insisted that under Section 3513 of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines “a cash reward equivalent to 20 percent of the fair market value of the smuggled goods shall be given to informers.”
The SC said Mejorado’s claim can be considered “moot and academic” after the DOF-COR decided to settle the substantive aspect of his claim.
The high court noted that the Department of Budget had already paid P68,682,257 to Mejorada, which represents the first installment of his cash reward. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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