SC bars Romulo Neri from holding public office over role in NBN-ZTE deal | Inquirer News

SC bars Romulo Neri from holding public office over role in NBN-ZTE deal

/ 07:39 PM November 12, 2021
SC permanently bars ex-NEDA chief Romulo Neri from holding public office

FILE PHOTO: Former NEDA chief Romulo Neri on March 09, 2017, during the Commission on Appointments confirmation hearing of then-Secretary Regina Lopez at the Senate. INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has perpetually disqualified former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general Romulo Neri from holding public office as he was found administratively liable for grave misconduct in connection with his role in the anomalous $329-million NBN-ZTE deal.

In a 20-page decision promulgated July 5, 2021, but uploaded to the high court’s website on November 11, the SC’s Third Division denied Neri’s petition and reversed the Court of Appeals (CA) ruling that downgraded the Ombudsman’s findings.

ADVERTISEMENT

Neri went to the CA after the Ombudsman in 2009 found him administratively liable for grave misconduct. The CA’s 6th Division in July 2013 ruled in favor of Neri and downgraded grave misconduct to simple misconduct.

“Petitioner Romulo Neri is dismissed from service, which includes the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of leave credits and retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the government service,” the high court’s third division said in a decision penned by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

FEATURED STORIES

In reversing the appellate court’s ruling, the SC said “there is substantial evidence supporting the charge of grave misconduct (instead of simple misconduct) against petitioner (Neri). The facts show that his conduct was attended with corruption and a clear intent to violate the law.”

It noted that as NEDA chair, Neri “had the power over the approval of ZTE’s bid (and that while) he insists that his office only evaluated the economic viability of the project and had no discretion as to the contractor to be chosen, this argument rings hollow.”

“Meeting with the ZTE officials, who were heavily interested in the project’s approval, raised questions on his integrity and fairness in the award of the bid,” the high court said as it reminded that “the Constitution and our laws demand a high standard of ethics from public officials and employees.“

The SC also said Neri’s role in the deal “undoubtedly fell short of this standard and diminished the people’s confidence in the government.”

The SC decision is concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon Paul Hernando, Henri Jean Paul Inting, Ricardo Rosario, and Jhosep Lopez.

RELATED STORIES

CA affirms guilty ruling on Neri over ZTE deal

ADVERTISEMENT

Court asked to reconsider dismissal of Neri graft case

KGA
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Court of Appeals, Ombudsman, Romulo Neri, Supreme Court, Telecommunication, ZTE Broadband
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.