Cebu City: The Ombudsman in the Visayas has found Councilor Sergio Batistis Jr. of Albuera, Leyte guilty of conduct unbecoming of a public official, dishonesty and misconduct for allegedly selling fake documents to lawmakers during a convention in Davao City last year.
Graft Investigation and Prosecutor Michael Mernado Jr. also recommended that Batistis be dismissed from the service with perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of his eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits.
Batistis has been a three-term ABC president of Albuera.
The complaint was filed by Philippine Councilors League’ (PCL) executive director Wilson Paclibar and Cebu PCL president Alma Moreno, who accused Batistis of issuing forged official receipts and certificate of attendance to the PCL convention to fellow lawmakers for a fee. They added he was apprehended in an entrapment operation.
Paclibar said that as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan and a public servant Batistis should, at all the times, “observe the norms and conduct of Public Officials as enunciated by R.A 6713 otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Government Officials and Employees.”
Batistis denied the allegations, claiming that the complaints were mere speculation, and his arrest “could not be considered an entrapment but a clear case of instigation.”
In its decision, the Ombudsman said “dishonesty is the concealment or distortion of truth, which shows the integrity or disposition to defraud, cheat, deceive or betray and with intent to violate the truth.”
Misconduct, on the other hand, is defined “as a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public officer.”
The Ombudsman also said there was substantial proof that Batistis sold spurious PCL official receipts and certificates of appearance that led to his arrest. Denial by the accused failed to disprove the pieces of evidence presented by the complainants and the testimony of another councilor, he added.