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PIA Press Release

Palace affirms suspension of ATO chief; reprimands DOST assec

Quezon City (25 September) -- The Office of the President (OP) effectively upheld its earlier resolution to suspend Air Transportation Office (ATO) Chief, Nilo C. Jatico for three (3) months without pay when it denied the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Jatico.

It would be recalled that the suspension came after a finding of liability for Simple Neglect of Duty by the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC).

The case against Jatico stemmed from a complaint by an ATO employee for belatedly liquidating his cash advances.

Notwithstanding the withdrawal of Ralph Guerra as complainant, PAGC proceeded with its motu propio investigation and established a prima facie case against Jatico.

'Based on our investigation, Jatico failed to liquidate his cash advances for 2003-2004 amounting to PhP1.2 million within the period prescribed by law," PAGC Chair Constancia De Guzman said.

Aside from his failure to liquidate his cash advances within the prescribed period, PAGC's investigation also revealed that Assec. Jatico continued to draw funds beyond the specified limit. As a department assistant secretary, Jatico can only draw CA amounting to P85,000 per year as prescribed by the General Appropriations Act.

In a Resolution dated September 4, 2007, the OP ruled that respondent has not given any compelling reason to warrant a reversal or modification of its earlier ruling thus necessitating the denial of his motion.

Meanwhile, the Palace also reprimanded Dr. Carol M. Yorobe, Assistant Secretary and Officer-In-Charge of the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) in a Resolution dated September 10, 2007.

The reprimand was for Asec. Yorobe's failure to give access to records relating to the implementation of Republic Act. No. 7459, otherwise known as the Inventor's Incentive Act of the Philippines.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Dr. Antonio Mateo, an inventor and incumbent President and General Manager of Amecos Innovations Inc. for inquiry on the status of loans of inventors covering the period 1998 to 2006 and the accomplishment of Inter-Agency Task Forced assigned to work for the improvement of collections or payments and financial management of the Inventor's projects and funds.

Yorobe in her Counter-Affidavit/Answer argued that the denial of the request for specific information is legally grounded on the constitutionally enshrined 'right to privacy' which is held supreme over the right of the public for information classified as public concern.

PAGC probers disclosed that the documents relative to the loans made by the investors from TAPI funds are public documents since the funds subject to the said loans are public in nature and the purposes are impressed with public interests. Furthermore, the complainant, as an inventor and a Filipino was disturbed by an information that there is only less than P6,000,000 remaining balance of the combined Invention Development Assistance Fund (IDAF) and Invention Guarantee Fund (IGF).

Yorobe likewise failed to prove that the access to the said documents were exempted by any law from the application of constitutional right to information.

PAGC Chair divulged that 'Yorobe committed a breach of duty. She has no valid or justifiable reason to deny the complainant of access to information, specifically on loans granted to Filipino inventors as there was no law prohibiting the disclosure of the same. Furthermore, as a government official, the respondent is under obligation to make documents accessible to the public.'

Both Jatico and Yorobe were sternly warned that repetition of the same offenses would merit a more severe penalty. (PAGC/PIA) [top]

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