Zubiri’s Ombudsman case spills over to FB
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—A Facebook post upholding the decision of the Ombudsman to suspend Bukidnon Gov. Jose Maria Zubiri Jr. was meant to misinform his constituents, his camp said over the weekend.
According to the post, the Office of the Ombudsman denied Zubiri’s motion for reconsideration on a complaint filed by a former provincial government employee against him. The post also showed the copy of the Ombudsman’s order.
Contrary to the social media post by Zubiri’s perceived detractors, “the governor respects the rule of law and he has high regards and faith in the justice system and its process,” his camp’s statement said.
“[That is] precisely why he filed a Petition for Review at the Court of Appeals. He respects the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman, at the same time, the governor does not agree with its decision,” it added.
Zubiri’s camp said his political opponents “have no respect for the process of the law, and they are misleading and misinforming the people.”
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Carlos Ycaro, a retired worker of the Bukidnon Provincial Capitol who used to head its general services department. He accused the governor of refusing to sign his clearance and his request for commutation.
A copy of the Ombudsman’s decision, dated Nov. 11, 2016, was posted on Facebook on Saturday.
In his affidavit, Ycaro accused Zubiri of abuse of authority, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, grave misconduct, and for violations of Republic Acts 10154 and 6713.
RA 10154 pertains to the early release of retirement benefits of public officials, while RA 6713 is the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for public officials and employees.
Last year, the Ombudsman ordered Zubiri suspended for six months for refusing to approve Ycaro’s terminal leave application.
But Zubiri said he was not yet the provincial governor at the time Ycaro applied for leave, and pointed to then-governor Alex Calingasan as the right person to approve such documents.
Zubiri reasoned that Ycaro was not cleared due to his alleged failure to account for chairs owned by the provincial government amounting to P3.25 million, and the electrification, installation and supply of equipment worth a total of P8.1 million, of which only P868,472 was accounted for.
In its recent ruling, however, the Ombudsman upheld its June 7, 2016 decision of ordering the governor’s suspension for being “administratively guilty of grave abuse of authority amounting to oppression.”
Despite the Ombudsman upholding its previous ruling, Zubiri said he managed to secure legal remedies from the Court of Appeals-Mindanao Station based in this city.
“While it is true that the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Gov. Zubiri was denied by the Ombudsman, [he] has timely filed a Petition for Review before the Court of Appeals Cagayan de Oro City in relation to the case filed by Carlos Ycaro,” said a statement posted by Zubiri’s office on Facebook on Saturday.
“In fact, the governor has secured a Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction, issued by the CA,” it added.
A source at the provincial government on Sunday said Zubiri obtained the TRO and writ from the appellate court in January this year.
The governor’s statement added the case Ycaro filed against Zubiri, for violation of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, was dismissed by the Ombudsman for lack of legal basis, but the case filed by the governor against the former is still pending in the same office.
The source told Manila Standard the case filed by Zubiri was about the public funds Ycaro has yet to account before he retired.