CA reverses Ombudsman’s ruling against Danao Mayor Durano III
“I FEEL vindicated.”
This was Danao City Mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano III’s reaction to the Court of Appeals (CA) decision to reverse the Office of the Ombudsman’s ruling finding the mayor guilty of simple neglect of duty and imposing a penalty of suspension for three months against the mayor.
“I feel vindicated. From the start it was our contention that there was no neglect of duty on my part in implementing the decision of the civil service. Whatever delay in the implementation of the decision was due to some legal and budgetary procedures which we have to follow in disbursing public funds. And the CA agreed with us,” Durano said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
In its decision, CA Manila, Former Special 7th Division, reversed the decision of the Ombudsman dated June 22, 2016 against Durano, saying that they find merit on the petition of the mayor.
“The court finds no substantial evidence to prove that the petitioner (Durano) committed simple neglect of duty,” stated the resolution signed by Presiding Justice and Chairperson Romeo Barza.
Durano filed a petition before the CA in January last year, stating that “there is a patent lack of evidence or basis to support the finding of simple neglect of duty” against him.
The case stemmed from the administrative complaint filed by the seven workers, who accused the mayor of violating Republic Act 6712 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
The complainants — Orlando Dagatan Jr., Amabella Gomez, Cecilia Lawas, Celso Aylwin Manulat, Leo Enriquez, Conchita Batuto and Maria Sofielyn Camance — were appointed by former Danao City mayor Durano III’s elder brother, Ramon “Boy” Durano Jr.
In revoking their appointments, Mayor Durano III claimed that the complainants didn’t undergo screening by the Personnel Selection Board, as mandated by a City Council resolution.
Despite being reinstated, the employees filed a counter-manifestation, pointing out that their back salaries, leave credits and other benefits were not released.
For failing to release their benefits, the Ombudsman ruled that Durano was guilty of simple neglect of duty, a violation of RA 6713.
CA said in its ruling that simple neglect of duty means the failure of an employee or official to give proper attention to a task expected of him or her, signifying a “disregard of a duty resulting from carelessness or indifference”.
“A careful perusal of the records of the case shows that (Durano) was able to controvert the allegations of failure to give proper attention to his task as City Mayor under the circumstances,” the CA further stated.
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