MP board member’s appeal on case granted by CA
MOUNTAIN PROVINCE– The Court of Appeals (CA) granted the petition of Board Member Romeo M. Pagedped, who was previously meted a penalty of fine of more than P 200,000.00 by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman from Northern Luzon
The CA in its 11 pages ruling issued a decision which is final and executory on December 18, 2015. The dispositive portion reads:
“Wherefore, the instant petition for review is partially granted the November 29, 2012 Decision and November 14, 2013 order of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Northern Luzon in OMB-L-A-11-0834-L are hereby affirmed with modification that the fine imposed upon petitioner Romeo M. Pagedped is hereby reduced from that equivalent to his four (4) months’ salary to five thousand pesos (P5,000.00).”
According to the CA, the deputy ombudsman erroneously imposed on Pagedped a penalty not appropriate for the offense he committed citing a violation of Section 8 of R.A. 6713 where it states that either imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years or a fine not exceeding five thousand pesos (P 5,000.00). This is due to the fact that petitioner Pagedped had no evidence of previous administrative cases.
As provided for under Section 33 (a) of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RRACS), the petitioner is entitled to a refund of what he already paid less the fine of Php 5,000.00.
It was to be noted that the Honorable Pagedped and now a third term board member, was accused by one Salvador Liked and found guilty for failure to disclosed his SALN for years 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 which is in violation of Section 7 of the RA 6713 otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Northern Luzon on November 29, 2012.
Board Member Pagedped, in his counter affidavit, claimed that he filed his SALN for 2002 and for the years 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008, respectively, as shown by the certification from the Municipal Local Government Operations Officer (MLGOO) and Human Resource Management Officer of the Municipality of Bauko. However, he admitted that he failed to file his 2003 and 2006 SALN due to inadvertence but in 2003, he believed in good faith that he was no longer required to file when he resigned as barangay kagawad in Pico, La Trinidad on October 31, 2003.
The Deputy Ombudsman, in its decision on November 29, 2012, found that Pagedped indeed failed to file his 2002, 2003 and 2006 SALN and imposed upon him a penalty of fine equivalent to his four (4) months salary. The Department of Interior and Local Government was ordered to implement the decision wherein the Provincial Treasurer have been deducting the said fine in eight (8) equal installments, and remitted the same to the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman, thru this writer.
While on appeal, the petitioner had fully paid the penalty of two hundred thirteen thousand eighty pesos (Php 213, 080.00) of fine equivalent to four (4) months of his salary as a board member to the Office of the Ombudsman in eight (8) installments.
According to a source who opted not to be identified, Pagedped moved for reconsideration but the Deputy Ombudsman denied the same in its November 14, 2013 order.
This prompted the petitioner to file the instant petition for review to the Court of Appeals with the following assignment of errors: (a) the Office of the Ombudsman erred in ruling that the petitioner failed to submit his SALN for the year 2002; (b) the Office of the Ombudsman erred in not giving credence to the petitioner’s defense of good faith; (c) the said office erred in not applying the doctrine of condonation; and (d) assuming that the petitioner is administratively liable, the Office of the Ombudsman erred in imposing an excessive penalty of fine equivalent to petitioner’s salary for four months.
In an interview with the honorable board member, he said that he is optimistic that his petition will be granted so he thought to hold in abeyance the implementation of the ombudsman’s decision. However, the late Governor Leonard G. Mayaen persuaded him to pay so as not to complicate the case.
He added that he is preparing a request for a refund in the amount of two hundred eight thousand and eighty pesos (Php 208,080.00) with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman and he is now in the process of securing pertinent documents needed.
Meanwhile, the complainant, Salvador Liked, texted that he is not bothered if the penalty of the petitioner, Romeo Pagedped, has been modified and reduced to P 5,000.00. What matters to him is the latter was found guilty.
“I am not bothered if the CA modified the verdict but that the petitioner was shown guilty as charged,” Liked texted. **Alfred F. Macalling