19 cops cleared of admin case in rubber boat purchase mess
THE Court of Appeals cleared 19 high-ranking police officials of administrative liability in the anomalous purchase of rubber boats worth P4.54 million in 2009 which were intended for search and rescue missions during calamities.
In a 22-page decision written by Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda, the appeals court ordered the Ombudsman to reinstate the policemen to the service and restore the salaries and benefits withheld from them.
The appeals court, in reversing the Ombudsman’s June 2, 2015 which found them guilty of grave misconduct and ordered their dismissal from the service, said the Ombudsman failed to present substantial evidence to prove that there was intent to benefit from the deal on the part of the petitioners.
“In this regard, petitioners, who have been in the police service for at least 30 years, most of whom are decorated members of the police force, in their bid to provide swift, adequate and reliable services to the people during a state of calamity and thereafter, could not be said to have committed grave misconduct imputed against them,” the CA said.
“Consequently, the penalty of dismissal meted by the Office of the Ombudsman must be struck down,” it added.
In its ruling last year, the Ombudsman held that the police coastal crafts (PCCs) were procured without public bidding aside from having noticeable defects.
Charges of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act were recommended against the police officials.
The said provision penalizes a public officer who would give any party “unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”
Ordered dismissed from service for grave misconduct were Senior Superintendents Asher Dolina (former Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG)-National Capital Region chief), Ferdinand Yuzon, Cornelio Salinas, Thomas Abellar, Nepomuceno Magno Corpus Jr. and Rico Payonga; Chief Superintendents Reynaldo Rafal and Rizaldo Tungala Jr.; Senior Superintendents Alex Sarmiento and Aleto Jeremy Mirasol; Superintendent Michael Amor Filart; PO3 Avensuel Dy; Superintendents Job Marasigan and Leodegario Visaya; and Chief Superintendents Juanito Estrebor and Renelfa Saculles.
Superintendent Henry Duque and PNP Accounting Division Chief Antonio Retrato were also dismissed for grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty, while Chief Superintendent George Piano and Commission on Audit (COA) Auditor for the PNP Jaime Sañares were dismissed for gross neglect of duty.
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