CA upholds dismissal of Mendoza, 4 others

January 14, 2013 10:10 pm 

By Perfecto Raymundo

MANILA, Jan. 14 — The Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal from the service of the late Senior Insp. Rolando Mendoza and four others for grave misconduct when they extorted money and forced a chef to swallow "shabu" in 2010.

In a two-page resolution of the CA Former 13th Division written by Associate Justice Francisco Acosta, it upheld the ruling of the Office of the Ombudsman that Mendoza, who was killed during the hostage-taking incident on Aug. 23, 2010, and his men were indeed "extortionists" who warranted their dismissal from the service.

The CA has ruled with finality on its level after it denied the motions for reconsideration filed by the group of Mendoza, along with Police Insp. Nelson Lagasca, SPO1 Nestor David, PO3 Wilson Gavino and PO2 Roderick Lopeña.

Concurring in the ruling were Associate Justices Magdangal De Leon and Angelita Gacutan.

The CA said the issues raised by the police officers are mere rehash and the issues raised have been passed upon by the court.

"After a careful perusal of the aforesaid motions reveals (sic) that the grounds and reasons relied upon by the movants had already been extensively considered, evaluated and passed upon by this Court in the assailed Decision. In view of the foregoing disquisition, the motions for reconsideration are hereby Denied," the CA said.

The CA ruled that the Office of the Ombudsman was correct in ruling that Mendoza and his men should be sacked from the roster of the Philippine National Police.

The Ombudsman disqualified Mendoza, et al., from holding any government position.

He and the four others were also stripped of their retirement benefits after the Ombudsman found them guilty of grave misconduct for allegedly extorting P20,000 from one Christian Kalaw.

Records of the case show that on April 9, 2008 in Manila, the policemen accosted Kalaw, a chef of the Mandarin Hotel, for illegal parking, driving without license and use of illegal drugs.

In his complaint, Kalaw said he parked his car along Vito Cruz and was accosted by Mendoza, et al.

Kalaw alleged that Mendoza and his men tried to extort P3,000 from him after he was accused of being a drug user.

The complaint said the policemen attempted to extort P20,000 from him at the headquarters of the Mobile Patrol Unit of the Manila Police District.

When he resisted, Kalaw was allegedly forced by the policemen to swallow a sachet full of shabu.

Mendoza was charged with administrative cases on April 25, 2008 and he was relieved as head of the MPD's Mobile Patrol Unit.

The PNP's Internal Affairs Service recommended on Oct. 17, 2008 the dismissal of the case when Kalaw did not attend the three consecutive hearings.

The case eventually reached the Ombudsman which rendered its ruling on Feb. 16, 2009.

The Ombudsman denied the petitioners' motion for reconsideration on Sept. 1, 2010.

This prompted the petitioners to bring the case to the CA.

In its decision, the CA did not agree with petitioners' argument that the Ombudsman had no jurisdiction to hear and decide the case.

The CA said an examination of the recorded evidence strongly brings them to agree with the findings of the Ombudsman, thus there was reasonable ground to hold Mendoza, et al., responsible for the following acts: "they forced Christian Kalaw to swallow a suspected shabu; they took the amount of P3,000.00 from him; they asked Kalaw, under the threat of being detained, to withdraw from his ATM card and pay them P200,000.00."

Under the Rules of Procedure of the Office of the Ombudsman, the CA said "the Ombudsman is allowed to render decisions in administrative disciplinary cases solely on the basis of the evidence on record, without the need of any formal hearing." (PNA)

HBC/PTR

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