The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal from the service of Pilar, Bohol Mayor Necitas Cubrado after she was found guilty of alleged grave misconduct.
The penalty of dismissal from the service carries the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility, and forfeiture of retirement benefits.
Case records showed that on August 27, 2015, Cubrado authorized the issuance of a certificate granting exemptions to several residents of the municipality from paying fees for the electrical connection of their homes.
“Being the Chief Executive of the Municipality, respondent evidently overstepped the scope of her authority and encroached upon the powers and prerogatives of the Sanguniang Bayan when she granted exemptions to some residents, without, however, securing the prior approval of the SB thereby deliberately disregarding the provisions of the [Local Government Code],” according to the Resolution by the Ombudsman released to media.
As a result of the alleged illegal issuance, the Ombudsman also ordered the filing against Cubrado of one count of violation of Usurpation of Legislative Powers (Article 239 of the Revised Penal Code) before the Sandiganbayan.
The Ombudsman directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Office of Gov. Edgar M. Chatto to implement the dismissal order.
PILAR MAYOR EXPLAINS
Despite the recent decision of the Ombudsman, Mayor Necitas Cubrado is not giving up the fight, and has reportedly filed motions for reconsiderations (MR) before the Ombudsman as a countermeasure of allegations hurled at her for misconduct and usurpation of legislative powers.
The mayor, through counsel, contended the case of usurpation of legislative power lacked several elements since she did not make the general rules of regulations beyond her authority or attempt to repeal or suspend the implementation of any law.
Cubrado defeated former Pilar Vice Mayor William Pajo during the 2016 elections. Pajo is one of the complainants of the case.
Other complainants on the case aside from Pajo are Nicanor Mante, Eugenio Galleza, Cipriano Ellorino, Saturnina Rodriguez, Tita Salazar, Misael Hilot and Wilfredo Bernante.
In her motion for reconsideration, Cubrado cited the abandonment of the Aguinaldo Doctrine by the Supreme Court (SC) is prospective. The material dates of the alleged commission of the infraction and the subsequent re-election of the public official concerned must be considered.
The commission of the alleged infraction of grave misconduct happened on August 27, 2015 and was a sitting mayor of Pilar town. She got re-elected on May 9, 2016. The SC abandoned the condonation doctrine on May 13, 2016.
Cubrado said she is “entitled to a reconsideration of the Resolution approved by the Ombudsman on July 5, 2017, which found substantial evidence to hold her guilty of grave misconduct and meted on her the penalty of dismissal from the service with all accessory penalties and to a d dismissal of the administrative complaint filed against her.”
The mayor said the Ombudsman may have “overlooked” some facts, which may water down the charges of grave misconduct filed against her, thus exonerating her.
She said the electrification program was already been implemented in 2015, authorizing the municipal engineer to waive the collection of electrification fee, building permits and other related fees.
She made the certification as part of her support to 95 beneficiaries.
Cubrado also wrote the Sangguniang Bayan to waive the fees related to the household application for electrification purposes.
The SB approved Resolution No. 56, granting the basis to exempt beneficiaries to pay the household electrification fees.
The mayor contended giving exemption to beneficiaries to pay the fees for household electrical connection with the distribution utility, Bohol Electric Cooperative II (BOHECO II), was done after securing the approval of the SB. She did not issue any executive order effecting the grant the exemption to pay the fees.
Cubrado issued a certification, through her executive assistant, to exempt the beneficiaries from paying fees to avail of the Nationwide Intensification of Household Electrification Program of the Department of Energy.
She argued that the certification has no similar effect of a general rule or regulation. The move also did not constitute any act to suspend or repeal a law, as it is was not the original intent, she said in court documents.
The certification was issued to support the application of the beneficiaries to the DOE electrification program. (DSA)