Camarines Norte, Bicol, PH (February 16, 2018) – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales found Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado guilty of Grave Misconduct and ordered his dismissal from public service.
The dismissal order carries the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, perpetual disqualification from holding any public office and bar from taking the civil service examinations.
The Ombudsman Decision was originated from the complaint docketed as OMB-L-A-16-0630 for Grave Abuse of Authority and Grave Misconduct filed by Edgardo S. Gonzales, former Provincial Veterinarian of the Provincial Government of Camarines Norte which was illegally dismissed by Governor Tallado from his office.
In a Decision approved on 11 January 2018, the Ombudsman directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to implement the dismissal order with request to promptly submit to the Office of the Ombudsman a Compliance Report.
It will be recalled that Governor Tallado was suspended from public service for one (1) year effective October 27, 2015, pursuant to the October 2, 2015 Order of the Ombudsman finding him administratively liable for Grave Abuse of Authority; but Tallado immediately re-assumed his office as Governor of Camarrines Norte upon receipt of the May 12, 2016 Decision of the Court of Appeals which reduced the penalty to six (6) months, on the theory that the Court of Appeals Decision should be deemed immediately executory and Tallado had already fully served the reduced penalty of suspension. On reconsideration, however, the Court of Appeals restored the penalty of suspension for one (1) year, recognizing the disciplinary authority of the Ombudsman and its power to impose sanctions on erring public officers.
The Ombudsman added that a suspension from office is a temporary disability imposed upon a public officer to perform the functions of his office. Tallado’s one (1) year suspension subsisted and he has no basis for immediately re-assuming the functions of his office without waiting for the finality of the May 12, 2016 Court of Appeals Decision.
The Ombudsman also added that Governor Tallado cannot claim that he assumed his post under color of authority or he acted in good faith, because he was well aware that he could not immediately re-assume his post as Governor upon his receipt of the May 12, 2016 CA Decision, otherwise, he would not have moved for its execution pending reconsideration.
Likewise, Governor Tallado was also aware that he could not discharge the functions of the Governor of Camarines Norte, moreover the Ombudsman said that Tallado’s re-election is notwithstanding in view of his one (1) year suspension, otherwise he (Tallado) would not have inquired from the DILG the applicability of Section 66(b) of Republic Act No. 7160.
Upon scrutiny, the Ombudsman found the record establishes that, on various occasions, Governor Tallado received notice as to the one (1) year suspension. The Ombudsman said, Tallado insisted on his obstinate and mistaken interpretation of the law to justify his assumption of office.
The Decision concluded that Governor Tallado’s immediate re-assumption of the functions of the Governor during the period of his suspension, despite the DILG’s directive for him to cease and desist from performing such official functions, constitute a clear intent to violate the law and flagrant disregard of established rules. Consequently, Governor Edgardo Tallado is liable for Grave Misconduct – a grave offense punishable by dismissal from service. TFF/RIF ###
See screengrab copies of the Ombudsman Decision: