QUEZON CITY: Ombudsman Con-chita Carpio Morales has dismissed the disgraceful and immoral conduct complaint filed against a member of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in Central Visayas.
In a decision approved on January 9 but released only recently, Morales ruled that there is no substantial evidence to indict PAO lawyer Maria G-Ree Calinawan for disgraceful and immoral conduct, an issue that stemmed from the latter’s alleged co-habitation with a married policeman.
It appeared that the Public Assistance and Corruption Prevention Office (PACPO) of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas found Calinawan guilty of the accusation and recommended the filing of charges before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan in February 2014. The PACPO established that Calinawan have had an illicit relationship with PO2 Abelardo Yumul, a married policeman and with whom she has a child that she raised on her own.
However, Morales agreed with Calinawan’s argument that she did not know that Yumul was married at the time that she entered into a relationship with Yumul.
Calinawan pleaded that “she is a solo parent who is raising on her own her child out of the salaries she has earned for the past 10 years without any help from the father, who she later on learned was married.”
Calinawan also asked for the dismissal of the complaint against her saying the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over the complaint as the PAO has already taken cognizance of the complaint. She also assailed the alleged bias of the investigating probers, who she described as having considered only the side of the complainant and not her answers and explanations on the issues.
To put the issue to rest, Morales ruled that the Ombudsman has jurisdiction over the complaint even when the PAO already took cognizance of it and can even order the PAO to forward the case folder to the anti-graft body. She also denied Calinawan’s prayer to inhibit the investigating Ombudsman prosecutors.
However, Morales finds enough merit to reverse the recommendation to have the lawyer prosecuted for immorality because no one refuted the contention that Calinawan did not know that Yumul was married.