THE Court of Appeals (CA) has slammed the Office of the Ombudsman for imposing the wrong penalty on a senior officer of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) who had unlawfully transferred ownership of a vehicle in 2005.
In an 11-page decision penned by Associate Justice Nina Antonio-Valenzuela and concurred in by Associate Justices Vicente Veloso and Jane Aurora-Lantion, the CA’s 10th Division found that Edgardo Chan, Senior Transportation Regulation Officer of the LTO, was only liable for simple neglect of duty in connection with the transfer of ownership of the vehicle.
The November 24, 2014 decision, which was released only recently, shortened Chan’s suspension from office from six months without pay—as what had been imposed by the Ombudsman—to only three months without pay.
Records of the case showed that one Beatriz Lim Rubio filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against Chan, Aracelli Alicia Rapada and Maximo de Guzman over the fraudulent transfer of ownership of Rubio’s Isuzu Hi-Lander (XCE 339) to Rapada.
The Ombudsman slapped Chan and the two other respondents with the six months’ suspension, prompting him to elevate his case to the appellate court.
In modifying the ruling, the CA held that the Ombudsman erred in imposing the penalty of six months’ suspension on Chan.
It cited Section 49 (B) of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Case in the Civil Service stating that “the medium period of the penalty shall be imposed when there are no mitigating and aggravating circumstances.”