Ex-Labor Secretary cleared of graft raps


THE Court of Appeals (CA) has overturned the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman (CA) dismissing former Labor Secretary and Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corp. (Quedancor) board chairman Luis Ramon Lorenzo, Jr. in connection with the allegedly anomalous swine program.

In a 14-page decision penned by Associate Justice Jhosep Lopez and concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon Garcia and Leoncia Dimagiba, the CA’s 15th Division granted the petition for review filed by Lorenzo as it reversed the ruling dated January 27, 2014 and order dated November 4, 2014 of the Ombudsman.

The court said no sufficient evidence was presented to pin down Lorenzo.

The Ombudsman found Lorenzo and several others guilty of grave misconduct and dismissed them from the service with forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in a government office.

It found out that the officials’ non-compliance with the required public bidding resulted in damages because Quedancor lacked recourse against the suppliers for late deliveries or non-delivery since the suppliers were not made to post a performance bond or contractor’s surety bond, which is required under R.A. No. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act).

However, the CA held that “contrary to [the Ombudsman’s]assertion, there no showing that petitioner deliberately violated the requirement of public bidding under [Republic Act No. 9184].”

“Such requirement is not applicable to the implementation of the QSP [Quedancor Swine Program],” the court pointed out.

“With the foregoing, petitioner cannot be faulted for taking note of the provisions of the Memorandum Circular No. 267 and the Consolidated Guidelines on [QSP] as both appeared regular on its face.”

“Thus, for lack of jurisdiction and for public respondent’s failure to discharge its burden of proof, we are constrained to dismiss the administrative charges imputed against the petitioner,” it added.


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