RTC dismisses employee’s petition vs. Pandan mayor
Pandan, Catanduanes  ·  
posted 8-Oct-2018  ·  
563 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

A Pandan LGU employee’s attempt to stave off her suspension failed after the Regional Trial Court threw out the petition for certiorari she filed against Mayor Raul Tabibara.

In a ruling issued recently, RTC Branch 42 Acting Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras found that the chief executive did not act without or in excess of his jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when he issued the Notice of Suspension to petitioner Gina T. Pagal.

The mayor issued the notice to Pagal on April 19, 2018 after receiving a copy of the decision of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) finding her liable for Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct and suspending Pagal for six months and one day without entitlement to all monetary benefits including leave credits.

Judge Contreras noted that in issuing the notice of suspension to Pagal, Mayor Tabirara was duly advised by an officer of the CSC that he could be cited in contempt for willful refusal to implement an executor decision or charged administratively and criminally.

Tabirara told the Court that the petitioner discussed with him the CSC ruling, saying that she was even happy that it was only a suspension and not dismissal and that she would no longer appeal or move for reconsideration.

He also pointed out that Pagal failed to exhaust administrative remedies when she did not seek reconsideration of the Notice of Suspension.

The issuance by the respondent of the notice is pursuant to the Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RACCS) and was not done whimsically, capriciously or arbitrarily, out of malice, ill will or personal bias by the respondent against the petitioner.

Thus, the Court stressed, it could not find evidence of malice and bad faith on the mayor’s part as basis for the award of damages as well as attorney’s fees to Pagal. 

The CSC complaint filed by former Councilor Bella Fernandez claimed that Pagal, who was still legally married to her husband with whom she has two children, became a live-in partner of police officer Dennis Olfindo,  with the cohabitation producing a child.

Pagal, on the other hand, alleged that she only began the relationship with Olfindo after seven years of de facto separation from her husband who abandoned her in 1999. She said that Fernandez filed the complaint because she (Fernandez) was a political rival of her brother.

In finding her guilty, the Commission noted that Pagal filed a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage only after Fernandez filed her complaint with the CSC.

“We are not unmindful of a person’s right to happiness, however, this right must be exercised with full respect to our laws,” it stressed. “Marriage is not just an ordinary contract. The state, in fact, ensures that it must be protected being the foundation of the family.”

According to Tabirara’s supporters, the case against the mayor is politically motivated, as the petitioner’s brother is reportedly intent on running against the chief executive in 2019.

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