THE Court of Appeals upheld the suspension slapped by the Office of the Ombudsman on Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) Chairman Camilo Sabio and four others in connection with the anomalous lease of vehicles worth P5.3 million in 2007
In a 19-page decision penned by Associate Justice Ramon Cruz and concurred by Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Romeo Barza, the Court’s 17th Division denied the petition for review filed by Sabio questioning an Ombudsman ruling finding him and PCGG officials Ricardo Abcede, Tereso Javier, Narciso Nario and Nicasio Conti guilty of dishonesty, misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
They were meted with the penalty of suspension for six months and one day pursuant to Section 52 (B) (2) and (A) (20), Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.
Sabio and others were also ordered to pay a fine equivalent to their salary for six months to be deducted from their retirement benefits.
Records show that on April 18, 2007, Sabio, et al. entered into a lease agreement with the UCPB Leasing and Finance Corp. for five vehicles worth P5,393,000.
However, the Commission on Audit found out that the lease of five motor vehicles were not included in the PCGG’s procurement plan for the said year and “was contrary to the existing law requiring that all procurement should be within the approved budget of agency.”
Sabio later resigned prior to the issuance of the Ombudsman order dismissing them from the service, which was based on the complaint filed by its Field Investigation Office.
However, the appeals court held that “[petitioner Sabio’s]resignation does not per se justify the dismissal of the administrative complaint filed against him nor does not render it moot and academic.”
According to the CA, the complaint was filed on June 28, 2010.|
“Therefore, even if [Sabio] has resigned and [was]no longer the PCGG chairman, this does not prelude [the appeals tribunal]from determining his administrative liability for the acts charged against him.”