THE Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld a decision of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing a government employee from service for forging the signature of then municipal mayor Josefina Leoncio of Sasmuan, Pampanga in 2010.
In an eight-page decision penned by Associate Justice Franchito Diamante and concurred by Associate Justices Japar Dimaampao and Carmelita Salandanan Manahan, the CA’s Eighth Division denied the petition for review filed by Ricardo Turla as it affirmed the April 27, 2012 and October 30, 2014 rulings of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon.
Records revealed that Turla forged the signature of then mayor Leoncio, which resulted to the issuance of a Land Bank check dated November 24, 2010 in the amount of P3,900.00.
Turla said the amount was the reimbursement for his travel expenses and maintained that he processed his claim through the necessary procedures in the issuance and releasing of his check by the Office of the Municipal Treasurer.
The Ombudsman ruled that Turla was guilty of dishonesty and misconduct and imposed the penalty of dismissal from the service with its accessory penalty in accordance with the rules in administrative cases in the civil service.
Turla moved for reconsideration but was denied, prompting him to elevate the case to the appellate tribunal.
In its October 19, 2015 ruling, the CA said the Ombudsman was right when it held that “even though there was no direct evidence to prove who forged [Leoncio’s signature], the [petitioner]is guilty for falsification considering that he had benefited from the proceeds of the said forged check.”
According to the CA, “the required evidence sufficient to justify holding the petitioner administratively liable, has been, to us, as to the Ombudsman, satisfied.”
“Prescinding from our analysis of the facts and circumstances attending this case, we find no reason to deviate from the findings of the Ombudsman,” the CA added.