CA upholds ex-BI chiefs’ lifetime ban from gov’t for ignoring DoJ rule on personnel movement

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the dismissal of former Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioners Ricardo David, Jr. and Siegfred Mison from public service for ignoring the requirement of the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) approval prior to effecting personnel actions.

In a recent 11-page decision, the CA Special 13th Division affirmed the Ombudsman’s January 26, 2016 ruling that found David and Mison guilty of grave misconduct and perpetually disqualified them from holding public office. Also held liable was BI head executive assistant Grace Lara.

The sanction arose from the complaint of Paulino Versoza, an immigration alien control officer at the BI Laoag Field Office (and now the Ilocos Norte provincial chief) who was originally suspended in November 2007 for simple misconduct.

In June 2013, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) granted Versoza’s motion for reinstatement.

Instead of implementing the CSC resolution, David issued two personnel orders recalling the earlier order for Versoza to report to his mother unit, the Immigration Regulation Division.

This effectively relieved him of his duties as acting alien control officer at the Laoag Field Office.

The CA said David and Mison’s bad faith were established when they issued a personnel order designating Versoza’s replacement.

This was despite their failure to comply with DOJ Department Order Number 144 which required the Secretary’s prior approval when effecting personnel actions in the bureau.

The court rejected David and Mison’s argument that then-Justice Secretary (now-Senator) Leila de Lima did not act on the personnel move.

“Indubitably, petitioners acted unlawfully when they issued the assailed personnel orders that are contrary to the specific provisions of Department Order No. 144 and Memorandum dated 15 July 2010. The inaction of the Office of the Secretary of Justice will not exonerate the petitioners from administrative liability when their flagrant disregard of the law and established rule is evident,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Louis Acosta.

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