PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Aug. 9 – A ruling released by the Court of Appeals (CA) has ended speculations that Mayor Lucilo Bayron will vacate his office here at the City Hall before the weekend.
In a 17-page decision, a copy of which was obtained by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) late Tuesday evening, the 6th Division of the appeals court set aside the July 6 ruling of the Ombudsman that was supposed to sack Bayron as mayor of Puerto Princesa for the second time.
Promulgated on August 8, this year, the unanimously approved decision originally signed by Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao, said that on the case of grave misconduct against Bayron by complainant Aldrin Madreo in November 2016, other than bare allegations, there are no factual circumstances that the petitioner committed corruption and intentionally violated laws.
On the charge of serious dishonesty, the CA said Bayron acted in good faith when he signed his son Karl Bayron’s contract of services as it was the City Government of Puerto Princesa which engaged his services.
The latest ruling added that Karl had “no intention to conceal or distort the truth” about their filial relationship “as there was nothing to be gained therefrom.”
On complaints that the Puerto Princesa mayor’s conduct was prejudicial to the best interest of service, the CA’s ruling said, “the petitioner maintained that he did not commit any act which could be considered prejudicial to the best interest of the service.”
“Engaging the services of Karl was neither illegal nor irregular,” the decision furthered.
Bayron is also not guilty of gross neglect of duty because Madreo’s “complaint-affidavit did not demonstrate that he refused or even failed to perform a duty.”
The CA’s decision, which pushed to the wall the Ombudsman’s ruling, said that Bayron’s triumph in the recall elections on May 8, 2015 meant that the accusation had already been disregarded.
In evaluating presented documents and submitted statements, the CA also refused to budge on Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III’s argument that he would be affected by the decision as it is “exiguously patchy to justify his intervention.”
“Suffice it to say that his intervention would only inordinately delay the disposition of the case. Since he adopted respondent’s stance, Marcaida’s alleged interest is amply protected therein,” it said. It added that Marcaida’s petition for leave to intervene has no leg to stand on.
“The cold hard fact is that after the purported misrepresentation, petitioner was reelected in a recall election held on May 8, 2015 when the Aguinaldo Doctrine was still in force (sic). It must be emphasized that it is the election which operates to condone any misconduct supposedly committed by the public official during a prior term,” the decision stated.
It furthered that “the reverse does not hold true if there was no recall election and the petitioner was merely elected as Mayor of Puerto Princesa City during the May 2016 local elections. By then, the Aguinaldo Doctrine had already been abandoned.”
Earlier, Marcaida implied his return as mayor here for the second time after learning from “concerned friends” that the Ombudsman had already sent an order for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to serve Bayron a notice to vacate his office.
“I have not seen any copy yet. But I was told that there is already an order from the Ombudsman to the DILG. I am not taking over the position if there is no order that would tell me so. Contrary to claims, I’m not overly excited to become mayor, but I am ready to take on the responsibility anytime,” Marcaida stated. (PNA)