CA saves mayor from dismissal
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — The Court of Appeals (CA) on Monday overturned a recent decision by the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron for grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.
In a 17-page ruling on Aug. 7 penned by Associate Justice Japar B. Dimaampao of the CA 6th Division, the CA upheld Bayron’s appeal against the Ombudsman’s ruling, arguing that his victory during the May 2015 recall election, in effect, “condoned” his alleged misconduct.
“The cold hard fact is that after the purported misrepresentation, petitioner was reelected in a recall election held on May 8, 2015, when the Aguinaldo Doctrine was still in force. Petitioner’s (Bayron) reelection on May 8 operates as a condonation of his alleged previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefrom,” the ruling states.
The decision centered on the applicability of the Aguinaldo Doctrine to Bayron’s case. The doctrine says misconduct committed by a public official is extinguished once he is elected into office. While the decision was eventually abandoned by the Supreme Court in a later ruling, the CA said it was still in effect when the case against Bayron was filed.
The complaint was filed by a private citizen, Aldrin Madreo, in 2013 after Bayron won his first term as mayor of Puerto Princesa City.
Madreo alleged that Bayron did not disclose his kinship with his son in the employment documents that they signed when the younger Bayron was hired by the city government, a case of serious dishonesty subject to permanent disqualification from office as penalty.
The CA ruling came as Bayron was set to be replaced by Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III after the Ombudsman released a decision last week finding the mayor guilty for grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.
The Ombudsman had reversed itself twice in ruling on the case.
It sanctioned Bayron in November 2016, leading to his ouster in February this year. The Ombudsman, however, reversed its decision four months later and ordered Bayron’s reinstatement.
But the Ombudsman ruled again on July 11 upon Madreo’s appeal and ordered Bayron’s second dismissal on the same case.
Marcaida, who had broken his political alliance with Bayron over the transition of power at City Hall, said he would abide by the CA ruling.
“I don’t know where the CA got its decision but I will not discount the right of the complainant to file an appeal in the Supreme Court,” Marcaida told reporters here.
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