Ombudsman orders DILG to implement orders vs. 3 mayors
21 February 2017
The Office of the Ombudsman has directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government to implement its administrative orders against Mayor Darell Dela Flor of Belison, Antique, ex-Mayors Napoleon Cuaton of Saint Bernard, Southern Leyte and Walden Lim of Tibiao, Antique. In three separate Decisions forwarded to the DILG, the Ombudsman ordered the nine-month suspension of Dela Flor; one-year suspension of Cuaton; and three-month suspension of Lim. In case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to their salaries for the duration of their suspension.
In Dela Flor’s case, the Ombudsman found him guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and for violation of Section 4(a) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act No. 6713). Also found guilty and ordered suspended were Municipal Accountant Edna Escaner and Municipal Budget Officer Leonie Galedo. The Ombudsman found that in 2014, Dela Flor authorized the payment of additional bonuses to municipal employees under the guise of procurement of office supplies. To facilitate the scheme, Dela Flor, et. al. submitted a supplemental budget with an appropriation of P471,817.30 for office supplies, which was intended to be converted as “bonuses” to employees. Documents also showed that the municipality had already exceeded its budget for Personnel Services (PS).
In its Decision, the Ombudsman cited Section 325(a) of the Local Government Code which categorically sets a limit for PS expenditures and that “any move geared towards providing employees with additional or extra bonus despite having exceeded PS limitation by using other funds not intended for the purpose, is patently illegal as this violates existing law, rules and regulations.”
Meantime, Cuaton was once again administratively found liable for Oppression/Abuse of Authority for consistently refusing to reinstate Gerry Mencide, a municipal employee, despite the Civil Service Commission’s finding that the termination of employment of Mencide was illegal. In December 2016, Cuaton was found guilty of Simple Misconduct and ordered suspended for three months for illegally terminating the employment of Mencide.
Finally, the Ombudsman found Lim guilty of Simple Misconduct for hiring laborers for the municipality’s water construction project despite the lack of authority from the Sangguniang Bayan and non-compliance with procurement regulations.
“As the local chief executive, respondent mayor is not only expected to know the proper procedure in procurement, he is also duty bound to follow the same, and his failure to do so amounts to transgression of the established law, rules and regulations on the matter,” the Ombudsman pointed out.
The Government Procurement Reform Act (Republic Act No. 9184) generally requires public bidding in all procurement of infrastructure, goods and services. ###