Dec 3, 2020 @ 13:18

SC clears Manila barangay execs over lack of bidding in purchase of rice for flood victims

The Supreme Court (SC) has cleared three Manila barangay officials of administrative liability in connection with lapses and irregularities in the procurement of 18 sacks of rice for the benefit of flood victims in 2012.

In a recent 3-page minute resolution signed by Deputy Division Clerk of Court Teresita Aquino Tuazon, the SC 2nd Division affirmed the Court of Appeals’ (CA) June 13, 2016 decision in favor of Barangay 480 kagawads Caesar Singson and Carlito Cabunot and treasurer Victoria Petel.

The CA decision overturned the Ombudsman’s November 27, 2014 decision dismissing the three officials and perpetually disqualifying them from public office for the offense of grave misconduct.

The SC agreed with the CA that the lack of public bidding for the purchase of the rice “cannot be considered as Misconduct” because of the “emergency nature of the circumstances” when the entire capital was placed under a state of calamity.

It said the urgency of the situation “justified the abbreviated procurement process” and excused the resort to negotiated procurement.

The SC also ruled that the CA correctly applied the condonation doctrine in favor of Singson even though he was elected to the higher position of barangay chairman in the May 2013 elections.

The condonation doctrine means a public official is absolved of administrative liability and deemed to be forgiven by the voters if they elect him again after the term during which he commits an offense. It was abandoned by the SC only from November 10, 2015 onwards.

The SC noted that Singson was elected to the positions of kagawad in 2010 and chairman in 2013 by the same electorate and constituency, and he did not have to be elected to the same position to benefit from the doctrine.

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