Ex-Iloilo mayor perpetually barred from gov’t over nepotism
ILOILO CITY — The Ombudsman has ordered the permanent dismissal from government service of a former Iloilo mayor who was found guilty of nepotism for appointing his son to a career service position.
In an eight-page order, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the dismissal of former mayor Peter Paul Lopez of San Dionisio town for designating his son as acting municipal licensing officer. Morales also perpetually barred Lopez from serving in government in any capacity.
Lopez lost in his re-election bid to Mayor Larry Villanueva in the May 2016 elections. But he can still be meted the accessory punishment of a fine equivalent to his salary for one year, forfeiture of all benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office and cancellation of all civil service eligibilities.
Morales approved the order on April 11, 2017, a copy of which was received by municipal councilor Cash Jacomina, one of the complainants, on April 22.
The Ombudsman said in its order that Lopez committed a grave offense when he issued an executive order on January 5, 2015, designating his son Carlos Paul as acting licensing officer.
Carlos Paul was already serving as the mayor’s executive assistant.
The Ombudsman said assigning the mayor’s son to the position violated Section 79 of Republic Act 7160 (Local Government Code) which has barred the appointment to a career service position in the local government, of any person related to the appointing or recommending officer within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.
This is also prohibited by Presidential Decree 807 (Civil Service Decree of the Philippines).
In his counter-affidavit cited in the Ombudsman order, Lopez said he gave his son an “extra assignment” to assist in increasing the tax collection.
He said his son’s duties were limited to processing the licenses and recommending approval to the office of the mayor which, Lopez said, was different from the regular duties of a licensing officer.
The former mayor said the designation was in a “temporary capacity.”
He issued an executive order on Sept. 30, 2015, revoking his son’s designation.
The complaint was filed before the Ombudsman on April 28, 2015.
Lopez also argued that the designation of his son was “cleared” by the municipal human resources management office.
But the Ombudsman rejected the defense of the former mayor.
“While Carlos was only designated as acting licensing officer, the rule on nepotism admits no distinction between appointment and designation,” the dismissal order stated.
The anti-graft body also said that career service positions such as licensing officer could only be filled up by appointment, whether permanent or temporary. SFM
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