SC upholds CA decision clearing Gwen over Balili property cases

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | November 30,2021 - 10:25 AM
SC upholds CA decision clearing Gwen over Balili cases

INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

CEBU CITY, Philippines – “Justice has prevailed, as always.”

This was the comment of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on the Supreme Court (SC) ruling, affirming the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) to dismiss the administrative cases filed against her over the controversial purchse of the Balili property in Naga City.

The country’s high court promulgated the 11-page ruling on September 14, and it was made public on November 24.

It stemmed from a petition filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, asking the SC to review the CA’s decision to clear Garcia and 10 other Capitol officials.

The state’s anti-graft investigating body charged Garcia and several Capitol officials for grave misconduct over the purchase of lots owned by the Balili couple in Naga City.

Garcia’s party, in response, appealed the case to the CA which ruled in her favor.

Among the arguments the CA raised was the condonation doctrine, which the SC upheld in its September ruling.

Although the SC has abandoned such principle in 2016, the appeals court said it can still be applied retroactively to Garcia since the administrative complaints were filed in 2010.

“Here, the three complaints for grave misconduct were filed against respondent (Garcia) and other individuals prior to her reelection as governor of the Province of Cebu in 2010. Since the events that transpired here occurred prior to the finality of (of the decision on condonation) on April 12, 2016, respondent can still avail herself of the benefits of the condonation doctrine as a consequence of her reelection in 2010,” the SC explained in its latest ruling.

“Verily, it is incorrect for the OMB to argue that the condonation doctrine merely erases the penalty and not the offense. To repeat, the condonation doctrine obliterates the offense and, consequently, the liability as well,” they added.

In a pre-recorded message sent to members of the media through Sugbo News, the Capitol’s media arm, Garcia welcomed the decision of the SC.

“And yet again, justice has prevailed as always the truth will set us free,” said Garcia.

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/ dcb

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TAGS: Balili property, Gwendolyn Garcia, Ombudsman, Supreme Court

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