Maritime chief, 3 others charged before Ombudsman


ADMINISTRATOR Maximo Mejia and three other officials of the Maritime Industry Authority (MIA) were slapped with graft charges at the Office

of the Ombudsman over alleged illegal appointments at the agency.

Aside from the graft charges, Deputy Administrator Gloria Bañas and her relatives Melinda and Rizal Victoria were also slapped with nepotism charges.

Nelson Ramirez, United Filipino Seafarers president, said the respondents should be held liable “for dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service.”

Ramirez explained that Mejia, by his act of appointing Melinda Victoria to a position of Salary Grade 17 that requires a minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree, “committed an intentional wrongdoing, a deliberate violation of the merit and fitness standard.”

“The intent to violate the law and the flagrant disregard of established rule are present when it is very clear in the Personnel Data Sheet of Melinda Victoria and as part of her 201 file that she is not a college graduate or a holder of a baccalaureate degree,” he said in his complaint.

Bañas, according to Ramirez, should also be held liable for grave misconduct and conduct grossly prejudicial to the best interest of the service together with Melinda Victoria when, knowing fully well that Melinda Victoria is not qualified for the position, recommended her promotion, and the latter by applying and accepting the appointment.

“Respondents Mejia and Bañas as public officers and in their capacities as the appointing authority and head of the personnel selection board, respectively, while in the performance of their official functions, connived, confederated and mutually helped each other together with Spouses Rizal and Melinda Victoria, and with deliberated intent through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence gave unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to Spouses Melinda and Rizal Victoria by appointing them as Executive Assistant and OIC-Division Chief of the Maritime Safety Audit Division, respectively, in violation of the law against nepotism and pertinent Civil Service rules, to the damage and prejudice of the government and other qualified applicants to said positions and such appointments,” the complaint said.

“With manifest partiality and evident bad faith in having a hand in the appointment of spouses Victoria, respondents Mejia and Bañas caused unwarranted benefit and advantage to them equivalent to the difference in their previous salary and other entitlements and their present one,” it added.

It was learned that Ma. Melinda Victoria is receiving a monthly salary of P15,365.

Rizal Victoria, on the other hand, gets representation and transportation allowances of P10,000 monthly.

“The government need not disburse said amounts because the appointments of spouses Victoria are void from the beginning, having been issued contrary to law,” Ramirez said.

He asked the Ombudsman to immediately suspend Mejia and the three other officials while their cases are being heard.

Bañas is currently facing nepotism charges before the Office of the President.

The Manila Times tried but failed to get any reaction from the camp of Mejia and the others accused.


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