The Court of Appeals in Cebu sustained its original decision exonerating Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia and six others of the administrative charges filed against them for their alleged involvement in the P50 million furniture and fixtures case in 2008, after denying the motion for reconsideration of the Office of the Ombudsman for lack of merit.
In its resolution promulgated on Nov. 28, 2017, the Court said that “After a meticulous review of the records, we find that aside from raising the failure to exhaust administrative remedies and questioning the backwages awarded to Ravena and Recabar, all other issues and arguments laid down by public respondents are basically a mere rehash of those that had been judiciously scrutinized and exhaustively discussed at length by this court in its Sept. 6, 2017 decision.”
The Ombudsman had earlier ordered the dismissal from service of Leonardia and nine other department heads and employees for grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty involving the alleged illegal procurement of furniture and fixtures for the Bacolod Government Center, which was reversed by the CA.
It also ordered the filing of criminal charges of violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Leonardia, former Bids and Awards chairman Goldwyn Nifras. former Budget Officer LuzvimindaTreyes, the late City Legal Officer Allan Zamora, BAC member Nelson Sedillo Sr., and former members of the Technical Working Group namely, GliceriaCaduhada, EduardoRavena, JariesEncabo, Belly Aguillon and AladinoAgbones, BAC Secretariat head Melvin Recabar and former City Treasurer Annabelle Badajos.
On January 20, 2017 the Court of Appeals granted Leonardia a 60-day temporary restraining order enjoining the Department of Interior and Local Government from implementing the Dec. 2, 2016 joint resolution of the Office Ombudsman ordering his dismissal along with nine other incumbent and former city officials.
On Oct. 4, 2017, public respondents the Ombudsman and the Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office of the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas filed a motion for reconsideration.
Petitioner Leonardia then filed a comment/opposition dated Nov. 3, 2017, while on Oct. 24, 2017 petitioners Nifras, Treyes, Sedillo, Agillon, Ravena, Agbones, Encabo and Recabar filed an opposition.
The court further said that public respondents failed to assert any new and substantial matter that would invalidate its (CA) findings. Indubitably, there is no ground to hold Leonardia, Nifras, Treyes, Sedillo, Aguillon, Agbones and Encabo administratively liable for the offense charged.*CGS
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