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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, July 12, 2018
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Ombudsman reprimands
city councilor
BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO

 

The Office of the Ombudsman reprimanded Bacolod Councilor Noli Villarosa for simple discourtesy in the course of official duties after finding substantial evidence against him in the administrative case filed by former Councilor Carlos Jose Lopez on April 6, 2016.

Villarosa was also warned by the Ombudsman that a repetition of the act he committed will be dealt with more severely, in its decision dated May 21, signed by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Terrence Anton Callao and approved by Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente.

The complaint stemmed from Villarosa’s alleged discourteous behavior during a barangay gathering in Brgy. Tangub, Bacolod City where he publicly ordered Lopez to leave the barangay gym.

Lopez also filed an administrative case for conduct unbecoming of a public official, and grave abuse of authority against Villarosa, who is the incumbent Liga ng mga Barangay president and Brgy. Captain of Tangub.

In his complaint, Lopez, former SP chairman of the Committee on Markets and Slaughterhouse and the Committee on Ways and Means, alleged that, as part of his duties, he conducted a spot check on the public markets of Tangub on March 5, 2016 together with his staff.

After inspecting the markets, he walked to the nearby public gymnasium where hundreds of residents were gathered for a meeting that had not yet started, he said.

Lopez said that halfway through his handshakes and casual chats, Villarosa went on stage and announced over the microphone “picture taking is not allowed here.”

Villarosa also told him to get out and had him escorted out by a barangay tanod after telling him that he was not invited, he said.

In his counter-affidavit, Villarosa said Lopez was in the area to prematurely campaign for congressman of Bacolod in the May 9, 2016 elections, which he lost.

Villarosa said the people in the barangay gym were not just residents, but also barangay workers who were gathered for the monthly meeting he had called.

He said that if Lopez is so particular with courtesy, he should have passed by the office of the Barangay Captain, which he failed to do.

The Ombudsman pointed out that Villarosa admitted having said the words “Picture taking is not allowed here. You are not invited.” It also appears from the evidence that Villarosa uttered the words “get him out of here,” and called a barangay tanod to escort Lopez out.

The complained acts or utterances does not squarely fall as unbecoming conduct as contemplated in the cases decided by the Supreme Court, and also does not fall as grave abuse of authority as Villarosa is not alleged to have caused Lopez bodily harm, it said.

The Ombudsman said the administrative offense of simple discourtesy in the course of official duties is a light offense under the Revised Rules on Administrative cases in the Civil Service, Rule X, Section 46 (f)(1).

The penalty imposable for such an offense is reprimand for the first offense, suspension from one day to 30 days for the second offense, and dismissal from public service for the third offense, it said.

Considering that this is the first time that the Office found respondent (Villarosa) guilty of discourtesy in the course of official duties, he is meted the penalty of reprimand, the Ombudsman added.*CGS

 

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