The Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of the chief accountant of the Philippine National Police (PNP) for grave misconduct and serious dishonesty in connection with an anomalous helicopter deal.
In a 46-page decision, the appeals court’s 14th Division through Associate Justice Maria Elisa Sempio Diy dismissed the petition filed by Antonio Retrato which sought the reversal of the 2013 Ombudsman’s resolution.
The deal was for the repair and maintenance of 28 units of V-150 PNP Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs) in 2007 amounting to more than P400 million.
The appeals court said Retrato failed to diligently perform his duties when he signed disbursement vouchers for the project despite the lack of supporting documents.
“Being the chief accountant of the PNP, it can be surmised that petitioner Retrato’s functions entail assiduous attention to details. As can be gleaned from the records, petitioner Retrato performs his functions in a haphazard and careless manner,” it added.
On the purchase of 40 tires for 10 28-V-150 LAVs, there was no purchase request made, there were no bidders bond and performance bond posted, no notice or letter of award as attached, and no bid tender of other participants and acceptance of the bid were submitted to support the abstract bids. Even the invitation to bid failed to indicate what items are to be procured, the court said.
The appeals court added that there were more missing documents for the procurement of spare parts for the V-150 LAVs as well as the repair and maintenance of 18 other V-150 LAVs.
“Petitioner could have requested for these lacking documents considering that under Commission on Audit (COA) Circular No. 92-389 issued on November 3, 1992, he could demand for additional documents in writing,” the appeals court said.
“Palpable from the records is his propensity to indiscriminately affix his signatures without scrutinizing the documents to which he affixes the same…Petitioner Retrato was duty bound to ensure that the documentary requisites were duly complied with before affixing his signature to the disbursement vouchers,” the court added.
“His administrative liability is further compounded by the fact that despite the inadequacy of the required documents, he certified that the documentary requirements have been duly complied with. Such action smacks of serious dishonesty as it shows distortion of truth in a matter of fact relevant to one’s office or connected with the performance of one’s duty,” it added.
Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Ramon Bato, Jr. and Manuel Barrios. AU
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