Ombudsman erred in Aguinaldo Doctrine

Provincial Administrator Richard Enojo is fully convinced that the Ombudsman committed error in its interpretation in the prospective implementation of the abandonment of the Aguinaldo Doctrine.

Hence, Enojo is confident that the Court of Appeals shall not only issue a writ of injunction on the decision of the Ombudsman to dismiss Governor Roel Degamo for grave misconduct but also rule that the abandonment of the Aguinaldo doctrine shall apply only to cases filed after the Supreme Court ruled with finality on the Binay’s case on April 2016.

The 60-day Temporary Restraining Ante Order will expire on August 23, 2016 and would require the CA to issue a writ of injunction to ensure that Degamo shall remain in office.

“A writ of injunction in this case would mean that the Ombudsman and the Department of Interior and Local Government are restrained from implementing the dismissal order until the main issue of whether the Ombudsman correctly interpreted the abandonment of the Condonation or Aguinaldo Doctrine is resolved,” said Enojo.

The Ombudsman has earlier dismissed Degamo from the service for grave misconduct when he authorized the disbursement of P143 million representing the 15% advance payments to 11 contracts for the construction, repair and rehabilitation of damaged structures. He was also banned for life from ever joining government service. Criminal cases for technical malversation through falsification of public documents were already filed before the Sandiganbayan.

Atty. Raymund Fortun, who reportedly took the case pro bono, argued before the Court of Appeals that the Department of Budget and Management erred when it withdrew the SARO pertaining to the P 480 million calamity fund; because DBM Undersecretary Mario Relampagos had no authority to recall the SARO.

Instead, Degamo must instead be lauded for swiftly implementing the projects that would mitigate the impact of the calamity brought by Typhoon Sendong in 2011 and the 6.9 magnitude earthquake.

In dismissing Degamo, the Ombudsman held that the Aguinaldo doctrine no longer applies to Degamo despite his election after the Binay case was decided with finality by the Supreme Court in April 2016. The Aguinaldo doctrine extinguishes the administrative liability of an official if he is re-elected into office.

But Enojo said that the Ombudsman erroneously applied the prospective abandonment of the Aguinaldo doctrine, which should apply to cases filed after April 2016 and not before it.

In contrast, the Ombudsman asserted that all cases open and pending before its office, including Degamo’s, after the Binay case was ruled with finality are subject to the prospective application of the abandonment of the Aguinaldo doctrine. (By Dems Demecillo)

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