THE Office of the Ombudsman ordered the dismissal of an incumbent mayor in Nueva Ecija for dismissing and suspending local employees in 2005 without legal justification.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales found Mayor Lucio Uera of administrative charges for dismissing Antonio Capia, Elizabeth Huerta, Enrico Tagle, Guillermo Mendoza and 29 other municipal employees of Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija by terminating their services without legal basis.
The Ombudsman adjudged that Uera was guilty of grave misconduct and grave abuse of authority and ordered him dismissed from service and perpetually disqualified from holding public office.
The anti-graft agency also imposed a fine equivalent to one year’s worth of salary, cancellation of eligibility, and forfeiture of retirement benefits.
Morales said that Uera violated Civil Service laws and rules when he suspended the employees for 60 days without any clear justification.
The case stemmed from a consolidated complaint filed by Capia, Nievo and others, which traces an incident in January 3, 2005.
Complainants said that on their way to work, they were barred from entering the municipal hall by “supposed goons of [Uera]” and handed them memorandum orders citing their frequent unauthorized absences.
They added that Uera dismissed them after he suspected that they sided with a political rival Romeo Borja.
Uera and Borja both ran for mayoralty in the May elections, but the former won.
Recently, the Ombudsman also slapped Borja with 33 counts of violation for the delay
and failure to remit Government Service Insurance System premium contribution between 2007 and 2010.
During the preliminary investigation, Borja submitted a counter-affidavit and blamed Uera as the root cause of the delay in the remittances.
In resolving Uera’s case, the Ombudsman said that his preventive suspension, termination from service, and deletion from the payrolls of the accused “were devoid not only of any legal support but of any good intention.”
John Constantine G. Cordon