BAGUIO CITY – The Office of the Ombudsman recommended the dismissal of the administrative charges it earlier filed against Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan for violation of the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7613 or the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees on the ground of condonation or the so-called Aguinaldo doctrine.
In a 3-page order, Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Regina C. Anniban-Navarro upon the approval of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, granted the motion for reconsideration filed by Mayor Domogan considering that the administrative charges filed by the Ombudsman has been mooted by his re-election as City Mayor of Baguio City during the May 2013 mid-term elections following the ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) in Aguinaldo versus Santos, which provided that the public officer’s re-election to the same position operates as a condonation of his past administrative offenses committed during his immediate previous term in office.
Earlier, a decision dated 14 February 2013 which was approved on 15 September 2015, the Ombudsman found the city mayor guilty of violation of Section 5(a) of RA 6713 and was meted the penalty of reprimand pursuant to Section 10, Rule III, of Administrative Order No. 07, as amended by Administrative Order No. 17 in relation to RA 6770.
The Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was directed to implement the assailed decision upon receipt pursuant to Section 7, Rule III of Administrative Order No. 17 or the Ombudsman Rules of Procedure in relation to Memorandum Circular No., series of 2006 dated 11 April 206 and to promptly inform the Ombudsman on the action taken.
The case stemmed from the complaint filed by a certain Odel Aquino against Mayor Domogan on his alleged failure to act on numerous letter complaints he submitted to him regarding the proliferation of illegal gambling in the city.
However, the Ombudsman found that Mayor Domogan immediately acted on such letter complaints by issuing the appropriate memoranda for the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) to check on the matter and submit their corresponding reports relative to the actions they have taken to address such complaints.
The Ombudsman also found out that such directives of the City Mayor were also publicly announced during his regular press briefings and announced in the media although the complainant was not appraised on the actions taken against the proliferation of illegal gambling in the city.
In seeking reconsideration of the earlier decision, Mayor Domogan contended that he was re-elected as City Mayor of Baguio City during the May 2013 mid-term elections, thus, the Aguinaldo doctrine will apply in his case that will translate to the subsequent condonation of the administrative charges against him following his re-election.
The decision was favourably reviewed by Joaquin F. Salazar, Director, Evaluation and Investigation Office – Bureau A of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Northern Luzon.
By Dexter A. See