• NIA official faces graft case for promoting sacked worker

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    A ranking official of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is facing a graft complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman for promoting a dismissed employee earlier ordered sacked for gross misconduct and dishonesty.

    Charged was Engr. Josephine Salazar, operations manager of the Cabanatuan City-based NIA-Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (Upriis) who concealed the Ombudsman dismissal order against Melanio Santos.

    The complaint against Salazar was filed with Ombudsman on October 24 by Arnold Garcia, vice president for Central Luzon of the Bantay-Bayan Foundation and Director for Media Affairs and Public Relations of NGO Empowerment Foundation,

    The complaint arose from the concealment of an order against Santos, an Upriis- Division 3 Water Resources Technician who was ordered dismissed by Ombudsman on September 25, 2009 for gross misconduct and dishonesty for non-remittance of irrigation service fee collection.

    Newly appointed NIA Administrator Claro Maranan upon knowing the dismissal order hidden for four years ordered Salazar to implement the long overdue dismissal on August 27.

    Salazar, then a division manager, was Santos’ immediate supervisor. Salazar even promoted Santos to section chief, a position for a licensed engineer. Santos was chief of the maintenance section when Salazar implemented the dismissal order.

    The dismissal order, on the other hand against Santos’ co-respondent, German Maniego from Division 2, was implemented by then Division 2 Manager now Regional Irrigation Manager for Region 3, Engr. Reynaldo Puno, upon receipt of the dismissal order in 2009 when Nangel was still the NIA-Upriis operations manager.

    Santos’ continued employment long after he was ordered dismissed and still received salaries and other remuneration with the obvious and virtual consent of Salazar constitutes graft and corruption or violation of RA 3019 otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and of the Civil Service Law CSC), Garcia said.

    The CSC Office of the Legal Affairs earlier said Salazar could face gross misconduct and neglect of duty charges for failure to implement the dismissal order and even promoting a dismissed employee.

    Salazar’s inaction on the dismissal order and promoting the dismissed employee has placed the government to a disadvantage and denied the promotion of other qualified and deserving NIA-Upriis employees.

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