THE Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the ouster of special prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio after the Ombudsman found him guilty in 2010 of serious dishonesty—he faked the records of his absences.
In a 20-page decision penned by Associate Justice Myra Garcia-Fernandez and concurred by Associate Justices Fernanda Lampas Peralta and Francisco Acosta, the Court’s Ninth Division denied Villa-Ignacio’s “petition for review as it affirmed the decision dated June 17, 2010 rendered by the Internal Affairs Board [IAB] of the Office of the Ombudsman[.]”
Villa-Ignacio was the special prosecutor of the Ombudsman who symbolized the determined effort of former President Gloria Arroyo’s administration to prosecute former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada for corruption and plunder several years ago.
The Ombudsman’s IAB was then headed by retired Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro.
It was found that Villa-Ignacio was absent for work for 113 days in 2008. According to the OMB-IAB, 63 of those days were not declared as official leave of absence.
It was also revealed that Villa-Ignacio’s secretary-daughter, Monica, did not report for work for 166 days in 2008.
Casimiro approved Villa-Ignacio’s dismissal from the service for serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, prompting him to seek redress with the appellate court.
In the ruling, the CA held that “there is no question as to the Ombudsman’s power to remove from government service any erring public official.
“The powers, functions and duties of the Ombudsman are set forth in the Sec. 15 of Republic Act [RA] 6770 entitled Ombudsman Act of 1989.”
The appeals court added that it “finds nothing in the records to show irregularity in the proceedings or handling of the complaint against petitioner.”