City gov’t cannot implement Ombudsman order – legal office

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan on Sunday said the Bacolod City government cannot implement the Ombudsman order dismissing former city accountant Eduardo Ravena because the latter had resigned in October 2018.

Bayatan said the City Hall received the decision of the Ombudsman in 2019.

He issued the statement after a case for grave abuse of authority was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas against Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia for his alleged failure to implement the Ombudsman decision dismissing Ravena from service.

“Since Ravena has already resigned when the city received the Ombudsman order, the city government cannot anymore implement the dismissal,” Bayatan told Daily Guardian here.

Bayatan said the other allegation that Ravena was disqualified to hold public office is undeterminable based on the complaint.

The administrative complaint was filed by contractor Antonio Wong and Mark Anthony Diaz against Leonardia for “delay or refusal to comply with the order or directive of the Ombudsman, under Section 15 sub-paragraph 3, in relation to Section 27.”

Ravena, who is currently a member of the Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) Board, was one of the respondents in another case filed by Wong and Diaz for collection of payment from the city amounting to P3.774 million.

The payment was for the delivery of aggregate base materials and volcanic soil during the administration of former mayor Monico Puentevella.

Wong and Diaz claimed that on Sept. 26, 2018, the Ombudsman rendered a decision in administrative case OMB-V-A-16-0512 for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service, against Leonardia, Ravena and City Engineer Belly Aguillon.

Both also said that while the other respondents were cleared of the administrative case, Ravena was meted the penalty of dismissal from service with accessory penalty of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and barred from taking Civil Service examinations.

The complainants said that while Leonardia received a copy of the Ombudsman Decision in April 2019, he has continuously and intentionally failed or refused to implement it.

Bayatan said that “The complaint filed by Wong et al is without any particularities to support their allegations. It looks deplorable to force an issue which is a non-issue, creating a distortion bordering on fabrication.”

He added that “It is not surprising that Wong filed this unfounded complaint. They were the disgruntled suppliers during the term of former mayor Monico Puentevella who were collecting millions of pesos from the city government out of their ‘ghost deliveries’ of soil aggregates and gravel.”

The volume that they claimed is unbelievable, a mountain of supplies that the compound of the City Engineer’s Office cannot accommodate, Bayatan said.

Bayatan said the city government had written them to address their money claims or collection to the Commission on Audit, they refused to do so, otherwise, their “ghost deliveries” will be officially confirmed by COA.