SC affirms ruling vs former PCGG chief | Inquirer News

SC affirms ruling vs former PCGG chief

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:44 AM November 24, 2023

Camilo Sabio

Ex-PCGG Chairman Camilo Sabio. INQUIRER file photo

The Supreme Court has affirmed the decisions of the Court of Appeals (CA) and the Office of the Ombudsman to perpetually disqualify from public office Camilo Sabio, former chair of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), for trying to influence his brother, then an appellate court justice, during the ownership squabble that engulfed the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) in 2008.

The justices, sitting in full court, denied Sabio’s petition for certiorari challenging the CA and Ombudsman rulings, adding that they found Sabio administratively liable for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.


READ: Ex-PCGG chair Sabio cleared of graft raps

In an 18-page decision promulgated in July but only made public on Thursday, the high court also said that the accessory penalties arising from Sabio’s dismissal should also be recorded in his 201 File in the Civil Service Commission, considering that the government no longer employs him and can no longer be dismissed.


The Supreme Court also ordered Sabio’s civil service eligibility canceled and his retirement benefits forfeited.

He was also perpetually disqualified from reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including any government-owned or controlled corporations, and perpetually barred from taking civil service examinations, it added.

In its ruling, the high court said that since Sabio is no longer in public service, the penalties imposed upon him by the Ombudsman and the CA were correct based on the 2017 Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.

READ: Ex-PCGG chair fined P1K, must also return P350K

It noted, however, that a review of the Court’s recent publications revealed that Sabio was meted the same disciplinary penalties in a similarly titled case relating to another administrative matter.

The high court was referring to the Ombudsman’s case against Sabio, questioning certain cash advances and expenditures during his tenure in the public service as PCGG chair.

“In view of this development, petitioner’s benefits cannot be forfeited anew and he cannot be banned from public service again, practically speaking. To remedy this, the Court looks to the procedure in disbarment cases,” the Supreme Court said, adding that it sees fit to adopt this principle in disbarment proceedings, which share the same administrative nature with disciplinary cases against public servants.


Based on court records, Sabio called his younger brother, then appeals justice Jose Sabio Jr., to inform him that he had been named the third member of the division to which the Meralco case has been raffled.

Meralco ownership dispute

Meralco was then in the middle of an ownership dispute that began in May 2008 after the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), which held four of the 11 director’s seats in the firm, questioned before the Securities and Exchange Commission the alleged invalidated proxy votes used by the Lopez family in the board election.

After the CA issued a temporary restraining order favoring the Lopez group, Justice Sabio called a press conference and claimed that an emissary of Meralco tried to bribe him with P10 million to have a case transferred to another appeals court justice.

The PCGG chair later told a panel of investigators formed by the high court that he made the call to his brother after a GSIS official asked him to help the government’s case. On the other hand, Justice Sabio also admitted to having been called and tried to be convinced by the PCGG chief to decide in favor of the government.

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In February 2012, the Ombudsman found Sabio, by then retired, guilty of misconduct for violating legal and ethical rules and for unduly prejudicing and compromising the image and independence of the judiciary.

TAGS: PCGG, Supreme Court

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