Leyte mayor suspended for refusing to comply Ombudsman orderPosted on
ORMOC CITY, Philippines —The Office of the Ombudsman found Santa Fe, Leyte Mayor Oscar Monteza and Human Resource Officer Videl Apurillo guilty of Simple Neglect of Duty and were ordered suspended without pay for one month and one day.
The case against Monteza and Apurilo stemmed from the complaint filed by the Ombudsman Field Investigation Office (FIO) for repeatedly ignoring the communications from the anti-graft body.
The Ombudsman record showed, in 2014, it was conducting a fact-finding investigation on the illegal use of the municipality’s ambulance with plate number SKA 337.
When the Ombudsman flagged down the ambulance, the driver Lito Torre, could not provide any trip ticket to the unregistered vehicle. In the course of its investigation, the FIO issued four subpoenas duces tecum received by Apurillo on 06 May 2015. Despite receipt of the subpoenas, no compliance was submitted to the FIO.
On 08 January 2016, the FIO sent a letter to Monteza informing him of the non-compliance with the subpoenas issued to the officers of his municipality. On 10 March 2016, the FIO reiterated to Monteza its request for the production of documents. Failing to obtain any reply from Monteza, a tracer was issued to him on 18 August 2016. All requests remained unacted upon.
As defense, Monteza claimed that he overlooked the FIO directive as he was hospitalized at that time due to heart ailment, while Apurillo claimed that the documents were destroyed during typhoon Yolanda. But Montesa failed to substantiate his claim that he was hospitalized because he did not submit a medical certificate.
On March 7, 2018, the Ombudsman ruled that under Section 26(4) of the Ombudsman Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6770), any delay or refusal to comply with the referral or directive of the Ombudsman or by any of the Deputies shall constitute a ground for administrative disciplinary action against the officer or employee to whom it was addressed.
The Ombudsman directed the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to implement the Decision.-Jiann A. Padillo/Newsline.ph