SC drops charges vs 3 magistrates

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THE Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed an administrative complaint filed by an engineer against three magistrates of the Court of Appeals (CA).

In a full-court decision promulgated by clerk of court Felipa Anama, the SC junked for lack of merit engineer Ramil Morales’ complaint against Associate Justices Celia Librea-Leagogo, Amy Lazaro-Javier and Melchor Sadang.

The case stemmed from the administrative complaint filed by one Roland Pidlaoan in 2008 against Morales, as acting chief of the Building Plan Processing Section, Bureau of Fire Protection Quezon City, for dishonesty before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Office.

Pidlaon alleged that Morales introduced himself as an employee of Quezon City Hall and asked for P89,000 representing payment for inspection clearance. It was found out later that the amount paid by Morales to the treasurer’s office was only P89.00.

The local court rejected the criminal charges for estafa through falsification against Morales, but ODO-MOLEO found him guilty of serious dishonesty and was meted out the penalty of dismissal from the service for the same allegations.

Morales sought reconsideration before the Ombudsman but to no avail, prompting him to elevate his case to the CA, which sided with the anti-graft office.

It prompted Morales to file administrative charges against the justices.

“From the foregoing, it is clear that the case should be dismissed for utter lack of merit,” the SC held.

“Morales failed to overcome his burden of proof to show that respondents committed an offense. The presumption that respondents regularly performed their duties will prevail.”

The SC, in its July 18, 2017 ruling that was released only recently, opined that Morales was not deprived of his right to due process.

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