CA affirms exoneration of Tarlac mayor over questionable reassignment of town exec

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the Ombudsman decision clearing Concepcion, Tarlac, Mayor Andres Lacson of administrative charges in connection with the questionable reassignment and the reduction of functions of the municipal general services officer.

In a recent 13-page decision, the CA 8th Division dismissed the petition of Joy Anne Lorenzo questioning the Ombudsman’s April 25, 2018 ruling in favor of Mayor Andres Lacson.

Lorenzo filed the complaints for abuse of authority and oppression, after Lacson designated her as interim municipal disaster risk reduction and management officer in July 2016.

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) eventually ordered Lorenzo’s reinstatement but the troubles did not end. Lacson transferred her procurement-related functions to the bids and awards committee (BAC) secretariat in May 2017.

The CA agreed with the Ombudsman that “indeed there is no substantial evidence to hold respondent Lacson administratively liable for abuse of authority/oppression and grave misconduct.”

It said Lacson only reassigned Lorenzo pursuant to a “lawful mandate” under the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, and it was only in a temporary capacity that did not divest her of her position or deprive her of the salaries and benefits she enjoyed.

“There was also no iota of evidence to prove her claim that the reassignment was aimed at removing her as the MGSO in order for respondent Lacson to appoint his cohort to replace petitioner Lorenzo,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Ramon Garcia.

The court added that “there was a semblance of validity” to the order transferring some of Lorenzo’s functions to the BAC secretariat. It said Lacson had acted in accordance with the Government Procurement Reform Act.

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