Deputy Ombudsman dismissed over Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking incident

April 1, 2011 11:41 pm 

MANILA, April 1 — Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzalez III has been dismissed by the Office of the President (OP) for gross neglect of duty and gross misconduct in handling the dismissal complaint against hostage-taker former Police Sr. Insp. Rolando Mendoza, on recommendation of Malacanang lawyers who reviewed the findings of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC).

This is the first time that the Aquino Administration has taken a direct action against an official in connection with the August 23 hostage-taking following the review of the IIRC report by the Palace legal team headed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr.

The decision was issued on March 31, 2011.

“This decision reflects this Administration’s commitment to hold those responsible for the hostage-taking incident accountable,” Ochoa said.

“Those of us who serve government must be cognizant of the fact that people are affected by our failure to fulfill our responsibilities. In this case, lives were not only affected, they were lost,” Ochoa added.

In the 15-page decision, the OP found an inordinate and unjustified delay in the timely resolution of the motion for reconsideration filed by Mendoza on his dismissal from police service – a clear neglect of performance of official duty.

It said that the delay in the resolution of Mendoza’s appeal that spanned nine months constituted “a flagrant disregard” of the Office of the Ombudsman’s Rules and Procedure, which provide that a motion for reconsideration must be acted upon within five days from the submission of the documents.

The OP also said that there was substantial evidence to prove that Gonzalez committed gross misconduct for showing undue interest in taking over the administrative case filed against Mendoza, which was then pending investigation with the Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service.

It further noted that the delay in the resolution of Mendoza’s appeal was “all the more unjustified” since no opposition was ever filed against the former Manila police officer’s motion for reconsideration.

“The circumstances surrounding the charges of gross neglect of duty and gross misconduct lent credence to Mendoza’s accusation during the hostage-taking incident that Gonzalez was extorting P150,000 from him in exchange for a favorable decision,” Ochoa said.

Gonzalez had challenged the authority of the OP to charge him administratively, asserting that it had no judicial or quasi-judicial jurisdiction over him.

The Executive Secretary, however, explained that both transgressions – gross neglect of duty and gross misconduct – amounted to arbitrary and tyrannical exercise of authority and betrayal of public trust, which are grounds for the dismissal of Gonzalez from service by the President.

In accordance with the Constitution and Republic Act No. 6670, or the Ombudsman Act of 1989, Ochoa said, the President has the power to discipline Gonzalez “even to the extent of meting out the supreme administrative penalty of dismissal.” (PNA)

scs/PCOO/ssc

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