Governor Amado I. Espino, III welcomes the favorable decision of the Supreme Court upholding the Court of Appeals’ earlier decision and declaring the administrative case on former Provincial Administrator Rafael F. Baraan and Provincial Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Office (PHUDCO) chief Alvin Bigay, “closed and terminated.”
Governor Espino made this statement as he greeted Engr. Bigay who attended the Capitol’s First Friday Mass recently at the Pangasinan Training and Development Center.
“I am glad that you are back because there is much job to be done in implementing various housing programs of the province,” the provincial chief executive told Engr. Bigay.
Both Bigay and Baraan were dismissed from public service and deprived of all financial benefits after they were found guilty by the Ombudsman on February 28, 2014 for their alleged involvement in the blacksand mining issue. They filed for a Motion for Reconsideration but the same was denied by the Ombudsman on December 15, 2015. Baraan and Bigay then filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals.
On February 14, 2017, the Court of Appeals, acting on Baraan and Bigay’s petition for review, declared Baraan guilty of simple misconduct meted with three-month suspension only, while the administrative case against Bigay was totally dismissed.
Then, on September 22, 2017, the Office of the Solicitor General withdrew from the Supreme Court its previous motion for extension of time to file a petition for review on the above Court of Appeals decision, saying that its intended petition appeared to be weak because of the absence of circumstances that would justify that Baraan and Bigay were guilty of grave misconduct.
Accordingly, on December 11, 2017, the Supreme Court declared that the Court of Appeals’ February 14, 2017 decision has become final and executory – effectively terminating the case against Baraan and Bigay.
In a press conference held last April 26, 2018 at the Capitol Resort Hotel, Baraan and Bigay expressed relief upon receipt of the Supreme Court’s decision on April 18. “We are vindicated,” both of them said. Bigay also said that the Supreme Court’s entry of judgement was in fact dated December 11, 2017.
As a career official, Bigay will be automatically reinstated as the chief of the PHUDCO while former administrator Baraan, who held a co-terminus post, has reached a mandatory retirement age of 65 years for government employees and therefore will no longer resume office.
“This is a blessing in disguise because I now have time to really attend to the needs of my family. I had been a public servant right after graduating from college,” Baraan said. (omv)