Commentary: Penalties for erring high officials show Palace seriousness in fight vs graft
Tacloban City (September 26) -- The news which mentioned of Malacanang's handing down penalties against high-ranking government officials upon the recommendation of the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, is a proof of the Government's strengthened thrust to fight graft and corruption and to uplift the public's perception of the Government.
This should serve as a strong warning to the government service providers to uphold the highest level of honesty and commitment to public service.
More so, this is an clear indication that the government will not tolerate non-performers who contribute nothing and worse, those who drain the limited government resources that come from taxpayers' money.
The Palace affirmed PAGC's recommendation to dismiss top officials of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA). PAGC's investigation revealed that former Board Chairman Francisco Dumpit and Administrator Lorenzo Jamora, authorized irregular and unnecessary contracts worth P1.4 million for the construction of the LWUA Training Center without any approved budget and prior approval of the Japan Bank International Corporation (JBIC).
Dumpit and Jamora failed to exercise diligence as officers of LWUA, and thus were found guilty of Dishonesty and violating Section 3 (e), (g) and (i) of RA 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
PAGC was not divested of jurisdiction over both officials despite Dumpit's resignation and Jamora's appointment as Administrator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) since it had already acquired the same before Dumpit left government service.
Upon PAGC's recommendation, the Office of the President (OP), also dismissed Administrator Orlando Hondrade of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System for causing undue injury to the Government through gross inexcusable negligence for advancing P1.5 Billion in the rehabilitation of the Umiray-Angat Transbangan Project (UATP) without complying with law requirements; renting private helicopters without undergoing public bidding; and failing to furnish COA with documents pertinent to these expenses in violation of COA Circular 76-34.
Hondrade was found guilty of Grave Misconduct, Conduct Grossly Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and of violating Section 3(e) of RA 3019. He also failed to observe the mandate of RA 6713 to uphold Commitment to the Public Interest and Professionalism in the execution of his official duties.
For failure to declare in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) ownership of a residential lot in Davao City, Regional Director Nasser M. Musali of the Department of Agrarian Reform of RO XII, was also found guilty of violating Section 7 of RA 3019, Section 8 of RA 6713 and of Simple Neglect of Duty. Musali's repeated failure to make the required declarations from 2001 to 2005 warranted suspension from service without pay for six months.
Meanwhile, a motion for reconsideration filed by BIR Region XV Revenue Director Hadji Mama Marzoc was dismissed by the OP. Marzoc sought reconsideration of an earlier OP Decision which affirmed PAGC's recommendation for his dismissal from government service for his failure to disclose his detailed assets in his SALN, for Falsification of Official Documents, and Dishonesty in violation of Section 7 of RA 3019, Section 8 of RA 6713 and Section 46B (1) (3) and (13) of the Administrative Code.
Marzoc's dismissal carried with it the corresponding accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of leave credits and retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in the government.
Malacaņang also reprimanded Chairman Leonor Tripon-Rosero and Chairperson Lourdes Aniceto of the PRC Board of Criminology for failure to reply to a petition filed by certain licensed criminologists despite several follow-ups from the complainants.
The OP Decision, which modified an earlier PAGC recommendation, stated that Section 5(a) of RA 6713 is clear and categorical that public officials and employees shall respond within 15 days to communications received from the public. Evidence failed to show any attempt of both officials to comply with the law. (PIA 8) [top]