5 gov’t employees suspended for drinking spree while on official travel
BACOLOD CITY — Five employees of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) in Negros Occidental were meted a 60-day preventive suspension for making a driver of a government vehicle wait beyond office hours while engaging in a drinking spree at a restaurant in Victiorias City.
Engineers Jimlo Garsula, Ramelo Letran, German Abihay, Resin Palacios, and Maria Luisa Abaño started serving the suspension order on August 23, according to Provincial Legal Officer (PLO) Alberto Nellas Jr.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson agreed with the findings of the PLO and signed the formal charges for grave misconduct against the five employees.
Garsula, the head of the OPA team, is also facing separate charges for berating Mario Pequit-pequit, the head of the provincial capitol’s cab service.
According to Nellas, a preventive suspension is not a penalty itself.
“It is imposed to protect evidence and witnesses,” he said.
The five employees were accused of having a drinking session in Victorias City while on official travel on July 15, 2022.
Nellas said the driver of the government service vehicle had to wait until 8 p.m. before they were able to go home.
The five employees earlier told Nellas that they were just invited by friends from Victorias City and that it would be an insult to refuse a “hospitable” invitation.
“After the suspended employees were charged, they may choose to submit position papers or engage in a full blown administrative hearing,” Nellas said.
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