THE Court of Appeals (CA) has exonerated a high-ranking official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in connection with an allegedly anomalous courier service contract entered into in 2011.
In an 18-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda and concurred in by Associate Justice Sesinando Villon and Pedro Corales, the CA’s 11th Division granted a petition for review filed by Sr. Supt. Eduardo Paderon Acierto.
It then reversed and set aside a consolidated decision of the Office of the Ombudsman dated June 25, 2015.
“The complaint for grave abuse of authority, grave misconduct and serious dishonestly against [Acierto] is hereby dismissed,” the CA said.
“All the accessory penalties attached to the dismissal of petitioner are likewise recalled and lifted,” it added.
The CA also ordered Acierto’s reinstatement as well as the restoration of his salaries and benefits.
The case stemmed from complaints separately filed by Glenn Ricafranca and the Fact-Finding Investigation Bureau of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices or Moleo.
The two complaints were filed against certain PNP officials, including Acierto, over a proposed Online Computerized Renewal System and Courier Delivery Service, a modernized and convenient system of online firearms license renewal and private courier service via Werfast Documentary Agency.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales found substantial evidence to hold former PNP Director-General Alan Purisima, Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta and several others, liable for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and grave abuse of authority.
Aside from the three, other police officials who were also dismissed from the police service were Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles, Senior Supt. Allan
Parreño, Senior Supt. Melchor Reyes, Supt. Lenbell Fabia, Chief Insp. Sonia Calixto, Chief Insp. Nelson Bautista, Chief Insp. Ricardo Zapata Jr. and Senior Insp. Ford Tuazon.
The dismissal prompted Acierto to seek redress with the appellate court.
In its February 12, 2016 decision that was sent to the media only recently, the CA found that Acierto cannot be held liable as “it was General Purisima who ordered for the service to be made mandatory.”
As a mere member of the Courier Services Accreditation Board (CSAB), the court said, Acierto’s actions “cannot prevail over the direct orders of Purisima as their [then]PNP chief, who has direct control over them.”
“He [Acierto] acted as a member of CSAB only for three  months. We would be stretching this principle too thin just to establish petitioner’s involvement,” the appellate court added.