'Sacked' deputy ombudsman to get P1.8M back pay

By Michael Punongbayan, The Philippine Star

Posted at Oct 03 2012 11:05 AM | Updated as of Oct 03 2012 09:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Deputy Ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III has reclaimed his position and will be getting more than P1.8 million in back wages.

Gonzales, of the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO), on Monday showed up for work at the Office of the Ombudsman on Agham Road, Quezon City, five days after the Supreme Court (SC) ordered his reinstatement.

The High Tribunal ruled that the Office of the President (OP) erred in ordering Gonzales’ dismissal over the Rizal Park hostage incident that left eight Hong Kong tourists and the hostage-taker dead in August 2010.

Gonzales had been blamed by dismissed police officer and hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza for allegedly not acting immediately on his petition regarding a case he had been facing.

The Ombudsman’s alleged inaction reportedly prompted Mendoza to take hostage a bus full of tourists to get the attention of higher authorities.

Gonzales appealed Malacañang’s decision finding him liable for negligence. The SC ruled in his favor and ordered him reinstated.

“The OP’s pronouncement of administrative accountability against petitioner and the imposition upon him of the corresponding penalty of dismissal must be reversed and set aside, as the findings of neglect of duty or misconduct in office do not amount to a betrayal of public trust,” the high tribunal said in its decision released Sept. 25.

Sources told The STAR that Gonzales submitted a memorandum to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales three days after the release of SC decision informing her, the Commission on Audit (COA), and the Civil Service Commission (CSC), of his reinstatement.

The same sources said that the P1.8 million in back wages and other allowances covers the period from the date of his dismissal in May 2011 to September 2012. It does yet include bonuses, and maintenance and other operating expenses to which he is entitled.

While Gonzales was away, Director Rudiger Falcis II was designated as officer-in-charge of the Ombudsman-MOLEO.