THE Court of Appeals (CA) has turned down an Ombudsman order finding former Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-ignacio guilty of administrative charges hurled against him that led to his dismissal from the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
In a decision penned by Associate Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla and concurred in by Associate Justices Hakim Abdulwahid and Socorro Inting, the CA’s 4th Division granted a petition for review filed by Villa-ignacio as it reversed and set aside a decision dated December 3, 2009, supplemental order dated January 29, 2010 and an undated order of the Ombudsman.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by one Luz Quiñones-Marcos against Villa-ignacio.
Marcos accused the former prosecutor of making an untruthful entry in his Personal Data Sheet (PDS), which he filed with the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) when he was applying for the Ombudsman position.
She said Villa-ignacio allegedly asserted that he had not been charged, convicted or penalized for violation of any law.
According to Marcos, the Supreme Court’s First Division, in 2001, “reprimanded” Villa-ignacio with stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely arising from his unreasonable delay in resolving a motion for reconsideration in a case filed before him when he was a Makati City (Metro Manila) judge in 1997.
The Ombudsman meted out the penalty of dismissal from the service against Villa-ignacio with cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service.
Villa-ignacio filed several appeals but to no avail, prompting him to seek redress with the appellate court.
This time, the CA sided with the former special prosecutor.
“The administrative complaint against [Villa-ignacio] for dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service is dismissed,” the CA’s 21-page ruling stated.
According to the CA, Villa-ignacio’s term had lapsed, thus, “any decree on his dismissal from the service is already rendered moot.”