BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
Igbaras, Iloilo Mayor Vicente Escorpion defies the Ombudsman, thus, should be held liable. He first refused to implement the Ombudsman’s order absolving two municipal employees, treasurer Cynthia Cabanero and accounting clerk Pio Elumba of any administrative liability.
Next, he defied the same law by refusing to pay the two back wages and other benefits denied them while they were serving the sentence of dismissal.
Escorpion received the Ombudsman’s order October 4, 2012. October 20, 2012, he received a communication from the Ombudsman “directing” him to execute, that is, restore the duo to their positions.
As lawyer, he knows the effects of the dismissal of complaints; but he feigns ignorance by writing “clarificatory questions” whether the Ombudsman’s communication is “mandatory” or “directory”.
Be that as it may, he grudgingly reinstated Cabanero December 29, 2012 and Elumba January 2, 2013. The two still grovel to collect back wages and other emoluments. Escorpion defies the Ombudsman rule that reads:
“Section 5. Effect of non-compliance. – Any delay or refusal to comply with the referral or directive of the Ombudsman or any of the deputies shall constitute a ground for administrative disciplinary action against the officer or employee to whom it was addressed pursuant to Section 26, paragraph (4) of R.A. 6770.” (Rule III, AO 07).
Cabanero and Elumba are victims of trump-up charges by a pack of charlatans and a rigged decision by Virginia Palanca-Santiago (retired), “assistant ombudsman”.
Palanca-Santiago is the principal dramatis persona in this writer’s 46-series column that describes her “embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia, a moral pygmy whose sense of right and wrong is as revolting as her looks.”
Escorpion is closely associated with the so-called graftbusters who can’t see monumental felonies like the Iloilo City government’s failed P135-million housing scandal.
The two were fired August 2009 by the Ombudsman who approved the recommendations of Palanca-Santiago finding them guilty for a P1 million “ghost” road repair.
However, on May 2012, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales granted their motion for reconsideration.
The charlatans masquerading as graftbusters led by a perpetual bar flunker and a cleric whose looks reminds us of our affinity with primates, had presented a thick wad of affidavits lifted from a single computer template attesting that nobody saw trucks delivering sand and gravel, and heavy equipment spreading the surface materials on two barangay roads from January through November 2004.
Their second “best” evidence is the affidavit of municipal engineer Antonio Escobido who claims ignorance of the project.
The affidavits were pre-printed; affiants only filled in their names, their personal circumstances and the date on them. Investigator Roderick Blazo ignored the counter-affidavits of barangay residents and officials and skirted the programs of works and the Commission on Audit (COA) report which found no irregularity. The programs of works were prepared by Escobido who also co-signed the COA on-site evaluation, both of which thus, belying his claim to ignorance.
Blazo saw bags of cement, steel bars, concrete culverts and aggregates on the roadside proving delivery but, instead of trashing the “ghost” project yarn, he pinned down his victims further for “neglegence” without explaining why the two were guilty and not the municipal engineer himself who was incharge of the implementation.
Section 7, Rule III, AO 07, states that the Ombudsman’s verdict of innocence is “executory and unappealable.” It adds:
“In case the penalty is suspension or removal and the respondent wins such appeal, he shall be considered as having been under preventive suspension and shall be paid the salary and such other emoluments that he did not receive by reason of the suspension or removal. A decision of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative cases shall be executed as a matter of course. The Office of the Ombudsman shall ensure that the decision shall be strictly enforced and properly implemented.”
It adds that disciplinary action awaits a public officer, like Mayor Escorpion, who refuses to comply with, defies even, the Ombudsman’s order, in the latest case, by refusing to release his victims’ back wages and other unpaid benefits that law and jurisprudence so entitles them.