Ombudsman fines DAR exec for failing to reply to letters
20 November 2017
Felix Aguhob, Regional Director of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Regional Office No. IX, Tumaga, Zamboanga City, was slapped with a fine equivalent to his one month salary for violation of Section 5(a) of Code of Conduct and Ethical standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act No. 6713).
Ofelia Delgado, a tenant farmer, alleged in her complaint that she wrote a letter to Aguhob on 24 November 2015 inquiring about the retention right of the landowner over a parcel of land subject of agrarian reform. Two follow-up letters were made on 4 February 2016 and 28 July 2016, however, respondent replied only on 15 August 2016.
Respondent did not deny that he received Delgado’s February 2016 letter, however, he acted on the request only when the matter was referred to him by the Office of the DAR Secretary.
According to the Ombudsman, “there should be no question that respondent disregarded R.A. No. 6713 and its implementing rules.” Under Section 5(a) of RA No. 6713, it is the duty of public officials to act promptly on letters and requests within 15 working days from receipt thereof, respond to letters, telegrams or other means of communications sent by the public. The reply must contain the action taken on the request.
The Ombudsman directed the Secretary of the DAR to immediately implement the decision which is considered as final, executory and unappealable with a warning that that “the refusal or failure to comply without just cause, of the officer directed to implement this Decision shall be a ground for disciplinary action against said officer.”###