Tulog sa pansitan: PDEA agents lose belated appeal in extortion case, fail to repeat colleague’s SC win
The Court of Appeals (CA) has thwarted a belated attempt by three Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents to reverse their dismissal for extortion and repeat the legal victory of an fourth respondent who, unlike them, did not sleep on his case.
In a recent 18-page decision, the CA Special 9th Division denied the petitions of intelligence officers Apolinario Mationg, Jr., Ryan Alfaro, and Carlo Aldeon to be absolved of grave misconduct.
The administrative sanction arose from a complaint accusing the agents of demanding P200,000 from Luciana Jaen, who was apprehended in a buybust operation in Lipa City, in exchange for her release. The PDEA dismissed the agents on June 5, 2008.
A fourth intelligence officer, Erwin Magcamit, was absolved by the Supreme Court (SC) and ordered reinstated in a January 25, 2016 decision on the ground of lack of substantial evidence. This apparently inspired the three PDEA agents to try changing their fortunes.
The difference was that Magcamit had been more active in fighting his dismissal and going up the judicial hierarchy.
Mationg, Alfaro and Aldeon only elevated the case to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on September 9, 2011, claiming they were only informed of the 2008 denial of their appeal four days before.
The CSC affirmed the PDEA’s dismissal order in a May 4, 2012 decision because the three agents’ petition were “filed out of time.” It denied an appeal in an October 9, 2012 resolution.
Although Aldeon acknowledged receipt of the October 2012 resolution, he did not take action.
Only after the SC absolved Magcamit did Aldeon on May 15, 2018 ask the CSC to set aside the dismissal order for being void ab initio. The CSC on July 16, 2018 denied the petition for being a “subtle attempt… to disturb the 2012 Decision, which is, in all respects, final and executory.”
In going to the CA afterwards, Aldeon argued he was “similarly situated” to Magcamit and should also benefit from the SC decision in his case.
The CA, however, said he “either badly misread the Supreme Court’s decision… or is intentionally trying to mislead this Court.”
It noted that Magcamit was absolved because the affidavits executed in April 2008 never mentioned his involvement. The SC found his dismissal questionable because it was based on a May 7, 2008 affidavit that he was never informed of and was not able to refute.
Unlike Magcamit, the other agents were consistently implicated throughout the proceedings. The CA noted his exoneration was based on a “ground which does not apply to the others also accused.”
As for Mationg and Alfaro, they only appealed the CSC’s 2012 orders on October 5, 2016, months after the SC ruled in Magcamit’s favor.
The two again claimed not to have received the CSC resolution. But, the CA said that even if it assumed Aldeon’s receipt did not constitute constructive service, “there is no denying that petitioners allowed four years to go by.”
The agents “all failed to appeal the finding of their culpability as required by law,” noted the decision penned by Associate Justice Walter Ong.