After 2 years, SC upholds Purisima suspension
The Supreme Court has affirmed the legality of the six-month preventive suspension meted out by the Office of the Ombudsman on former Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima — more than two years after he was permanently sacked from government service.
In a statement, the high court on Wednesday said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales “acted within her powers” when she ordered Purisima’s suspension on Dec. 3, 2014, after a plunder and graft complaint was filed against him for approving a P100-million contract with Werfast Documentation Agency Inc.
The startup courier service firm, which was allegedly owned by Purisima’s friend, was tapped by the PNP in May 2011 for the delivery of firearm licenses nationwide.
The tribunal’s First Division promulgated the ruling on July 26, or over two years since the Ombudsman handed out the dismissal order on June 30, 2015, against the former PNP chief and several senior and junior police officers for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and grave abuse of authority.
In tossing out Purisima’s petition for review on certiorari, the high court sustained the July 29, 2015, resolution of the Court of Appeals which also upheld Morales’ decision.
It did not give weight to Purisima’s claim that Morales, a retired Supreme Court associate justice, violated his right to due process and prejudged the case by ordering his preventive suspension.
The antigraft body, it ruled, was allowed to “issue a preventive suspension order prior to the filing of an answer or counteraffidavit, considering that the same is but a preventive measure.”
“Ultimately, it should be borne in mind that the issuance of a preventive suspension order does not amount to a prejudgment of the merits of the case,” the tribunal said.
“Neither is it a demonstration of a public official’s guilt as such pronouncement can be done only after trial on the merits,” it added.
As stated in Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6770, or the Ombudsman Act of 1989, the court said Morales may issue preventive suspension order on government officials “when conditions are met.”
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