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CA temporarily stops dismissal of Aklan gov, wife from gov’t

By: - Correspondent / @nestorburgosINQ
/ 06:44 PM May 16, 2017
Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals. (Photo from the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

ILOILO CITY — The Court of Appeals (CA) has issued a writ of preliminary injunction temporarily barring the implementation of a dismissal order against Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores and his wife former Ibajay town mayor Lourdes Miraflores.

In a 13-page resolution promulgated on May 5, the Court of Appeals’ Special 16th Division barred the Department of Interior and Local Government from implementing the dismissal order of the Ombudsman pending the resolution of a petition for review filed by the Miraflores couple.

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The order took effect upon the posting of a P100,000 bond which was paid on May 8, the court said

A writ of preliminary injunction is a court order which prohibits a person or agency from committing an act or acts until a final order or judgment is issued.

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The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon and
concurred with by Associate Justices Ricardo Rosario and Eduardo
Peralta Jr.

The Ombudsman on Jan. 25 had ordered the dismissal of the couple from service after they were found guilty of “serious dishonesty and grave misconduct” for failing to properly declare about P12.18 million in assets in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net-worth(SALN) from 2001 to 2009.

The CA’s 16th Division issued on Feb. 27 a 60-day temporary restraining order stopping the DILG from enforcing the dismissal order.

The court had said that it issued the TRO to prevent irreparable injury and damage to petitioners but also complications that would arise if the dismissal order were to be implemented pending the resolution of the petition for review.

In a 24-page comment dated April 7 seeking among others the dismissal of the petition for review, the Ombudsman through its legal affairs office argued that the Miraflores couple could not invoke the “condonation” doctrine in their defense against administrative liabilities for alleged irregularities in their SALN.

The doctrine extinguishes administrative cases filed against any public official during the official’s previous term immediately after the official’s re-election.

The Supreme Court in a ruling on April 12, 2016 rejected the doctrine but said its application would be prospective.

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The Ombudsman, citing an office circular, said that it no longer entertained the condonation doctrine as a defense in administrative order after the ruling of the high court.

This applies to all pending and prospective cases regardless when the administrative infractions were committed or when the complaint was filed.

In seeking the dismissal of the petition for review, the anti-graft body reiterated its findings that the couple’s income did not justify the increase in their net worth.

“In a span of nine years, the net worth of petitioners increased by a whooping P10,237,518.02,” according to the Ombudsman comment.

It said that from negative P288,134.02 in 2001, their net worth reached P9,949,384 in 2009.

The governor has denied any irregularities in their SALN.

In an earlier interview he said there was “no deliberate intent to conceal properties or assets or commit grave misconduct or bad faith.”  He said there was also confusion because of the change in the date being required in the SALN form.

In their counter-affidavit, the couple said they loaned P20 million to subsidize their living and acquire assets.

They also justified their failure to declare three motor vehicles registered to their names because these were already allegedly “owned, used and given to persons who had served their family for years.”

Governor Miraflores is on his fifth term as governor. He was also governor of the province from 1995 to 2004 and representative of the lone congressional district of Aklan from 2004 to 2013.

Lourdes completed her third and last term as mayor of their hometown Ibajay in 2016 and was replaced by their son Jose Enrique Miraflores.  SFM

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TAGS: administrative proceedings, Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, condonation doctrine, Court of Appeals, Court of Appeals Associate Justice Edwin Sorongan, courts, Department of Interior and Local governments, dismissal from government service, failure to properly declare all assets in statement of assets liabilities and net worth, former Ibajay Aklan Mayor Lourdes Miraflores, grave misconduct, litigation, Office of the Ombudsman, serious dishonesty, Supreme Court, temporary stop to implementation of dismissal order, trials, writ of preliminary injunction
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