A former Davao Oriental municipal mayor has been found guilty of administrative charge for simple neglect of duty for his refusal to implement the dismissal order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman against six municipal employees.
In an order, the Ombudsman has ordered a one-month suspension against former Lupon Mayor Domingo Lim but the penalty will be converted to a fine in the amount of his one month’s salary in view of his separation from service.
The case stemmed from Lim’s blatant refusal to implement the Sept. 17, 2015 dismissal order by the Ombudsman against municipal employees Zaldy Cole, Jonel Delmonte, Renato Lanos, Rhulan Patiño Sr., Romeo Rosauro and Sani Hanani.
The respondent was reminded twice in 2015 of the immediate executory nature of the decision of the Ombudsman and the repercussion for the refusal or failure to comply with the dismissal order but he continued to defy the order.
The Ombudsman junked Lim’s defense that he merely exercised prudence in seeking the legal opinion of Ombudsman-Mindanao because he is not learned in the law.
He also claimed that he should be guided by the Ombudsman in implementing the dismissal order in the midst of the “grey areas” that arose from the legal remedies availed of by said municipal employees.
“It is clear from the provision that when a public official has been found guilty of an administrative charge by the Office of the Ombudsman and the penalty imposed is suspension of more than a month, just like in the present case, an appeal may be made to the Court of Appeals. However, such appeal shall not stop the decision from being executory and the implementation of the decision follows as a matter of course,” the Ombudsman stated.
The Ombudsman added that its disciplinary authority does not end with a recommendation to punish, but goes further as to directly impose the appropriate sanctions on the erring public officials and employees, like removal, suspension, demotion, fine, censure or criminal prosecution.
“The imposition of administrative sanctions is not merely advisory or recommendatory but mandatory,” as stated in the decision.
“[Lim] has no reason to defer the implementation of the dismissal order against Cole, et. al. and his failure to execute the administrative sanction is a ground for disciplinary action,” the Ombudsman added.