THE Court of Appeals (CA) has junked a petition filed by several police officers against an Ombudsman ruling in connection with the allegedly anomalous purchase of Police Coastal Craft (PCC) worth P4.54 million in 2009.
In a ruling penned by Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda and concurred in by Associate Justices Sesinando Villon and Pedro Corales, the CA’s 11th Division dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by Chief Supt. Asher Dolina; Senior Superintendents Ferdinand Yuzon, Thomas Abellar, Cornelio Salinas and Michel Amos Filart; and Superintendents Nepomuceno MM Corpus Jr. and Rico Payonga.
Their petition with prayer for issuance of temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary mandatory injunction assailed a consolidated resolution of the Office of the Ombudsman finding them liable, criminally, for violation of Section 3(c) of Republic Act 3019, and administratively, for grave misconduct.
The same petition seeks, among others, to set aside and nullify the resolution and also to cause dismissal of the criminal and administrative complaints against the petitioners.
Section 3 (e) of the anti-graft law prohibits public officials from causing any undue injury to any party, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of their official functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
The Ombudsman’s decision held that investigators found that in 2009, the Philippine National Police headquarters issued a resolution for the procurement of watercraft.
The items delivered were found to be supposedly defective.
Dolina, et al. elevated their case to the appellate court.
Subsequently, the CA said, last October, four of the petitioners–Dolina, Yuzon, Abellar and Payonga–filed a manifestation with motion for leave to file amended petition with attached petition for review, “after realizing that a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules is the more appropriate remedy, thus the filing of the amended petition within the petition allowed by the rules.”
According to the appellate court, “the procedural remedy is improper.”
But in its November 23, 2015 ruling that was released to the media just recently, the CA found merit in the new plea filed by the petitioners “considering the same has been filed before any action by the court [in the case was made.]”
It granted the petitioner’s new appeal and admitted their fresh petition.
“Without necessarily giving due course to the petition for review, private respondent [Job F. Marasigan] is required to file a comment thereto, not a motion to dismiss, within a period of ten (10) days from notice, which comment may be treated as his answer to the petition should the same be given due course. Petitioner may then file a reply within a period of five (5) days from receipt of said comment,” the CA said.
“Any action on the prayer for the issuance of an injunctive writ is held in abeyance pending receipt of the aforesaid pleadings,” the appellate court pointed out.