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Ombudsman suspends Compostela Valley & Davao del Norte officials

Local officials from Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte were found guilty of violating Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, for having violated lawful orders of competent authority.

Suspended for six months without pay were Compostela Valley Assistant Provincial Assessor Abenir Labja; School District Supervisor Ramon Zafra (ComVal); Davao del Norte Budget Officer Dean Briz (Tagum City);  and Asuncion Sangguniang Bayan Secretary Eugenio Ramonida. Fined in an amount equivalent to his six months’ salary was  Nabunturan Barangay Councilor Miguel Fermil who no longer holds public office.

Case records show that on 30 April 2012, said officials (except for Labja) were removed by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) from their positions as members of the board of directors of Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (DANECO).  The Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) also directed them to cease and desist from further exercising their powers and functions as board members of DANECO pending resolution of the dispute in court.

The Office of the Ombudsman for Mindanao found that the local officials willfully disregarded lawful orders and decisions of the NEA, CDA, Regional Trial Court and Court of Appeals, as they continued to exercise their functions as members of the board of directors, even continuing with the conduct of a referendum when they were already ordered to hold the same in abeyance.

“By disregarding and circumventing the lawful orders of competent authorities, the respondents have violated R.A. 6713,” the Decision stated, adding that respondents likewise “forgot that they are bringing with them the image of their public office; and by defying lawful orders, they tainted the integrity of their public positions.”

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