Ex-Davao Oriental mayor penalized for refusing to implement Ombudsman order
12 October 2017
The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the one-month suspension of former Lupon, Davao Oriental Mayor Domingo Lim for simple neglect of duty. In the event of separation from service, the penalty will be converted to a fine in the amount of his one month’s salary.
Lim’s culpability stemmed from his blatant refusal to implement the Ombudsman’s 17 September 2015 Decision ordering the dismissal of municipal employees Zaldy Cole, Jonel Delmonte, Renato Lanos, Rhulan Patiño Sr., Romeo Rosauro, and Sani Hanani, despite being reminded twice in 2015 of the immediately executory nature of the decision of the Ombudsman and the repercussion for the refusal or failure to comply with the dismissal order.
The Ombudsman junked Lim’s defense that he merely exercised prudence in seeking the legal opinion of Ombudsman-Mindanao because he is not learned in the law. He also claimed that he should be guided by the Ombudsman in implementing the dismissal order in the midst of the “grey areas” that arose from the legal remedies availed of by Cole, et. al.
“It is clear from the provision that when a public official has been found guilty of an administrative charge by the Office of the Ombudsman and the penalty imposed is suspension of more than a month, just like in the present case, an appeal may be made to the Court of Appeals. However, such appeal shall not stop the decision from being executory and the implementation of the decision follows as a matter of course,” the Ombudsman stated.
“The disciplinary authority of the Office of the Ombudsman does not end with a recommendation to punish, but goes further as to directly impose the appropriate sanctions on the erring public officials and employees, like removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure or criminal prosecution. The imposition of administrative sanctions is not merely advisory or recommendatory but mandatory,” stated the Decision.
According to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, “[Lim] has no reason to defer the implementation of the dismissal order against Cole, et. al. and his failure to execute the administrative sanction is a ground for disciplinary action.”
Simple Neglect of Duty is defined as “the failure to give proper attention to a task expected of an employee resulting from either carelessness or indifference.”###