Bacolod City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan yesterday said they will seek the opinion of the Civil Service Commission on the proper procedure and time for department heads and employees allegedly involved in the P50 million furniture and fixtures case to be reinstated and paid their back wages.
This came after the Court of Appeals in Cebu sustained its original decision exonerating Bacolod Mayor EvelioLeonardia and six others of the administrative charges filed against them for their alleged involvement in the case in 2008, after denying the motion for reconsideration of the Office of the Ombudsman for lack of merit.
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.
Bayatan said theyhave already filed for the dismissal of the criminal case which is pending for resolution before the Sandiganbayan.
Meanwhile, Bayatan said he met with the department heads and employees concerned Thursday to evaluate the pendency of the administrative case.
“The best move by now is to seek the opinion of the CSC because there are matters in the decision of the CA that suggests that there is a possibility that we may be able to provide the respondents their backwages and to reinstate them,” he said.
Bayatan said that, based on jurisprudence, there is an assurance they will be paid because they were exonerated. But as a matter of procedure on how and what is the proper time, they need to seek the CSC opinion.
However, the case of Ravena and Recabar is one concern they need to further evaluate because althoughthe penalty was reduced from gross misconduct to simple misconduct, the issue is whether the reduction of the penalty was a change or a mistake in the charges against them, Bayatan said.
Because there is that possibility that the charge is the same, only that the penalty was reduced. There is also the possibility that the penalty was reduced because they were wrongly charged, and it would have been a different violation. This is one clarification they need to know, he said.*CGS
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