Ombudsman slams door on deputy

By Michael Punongbayan, The Philippine Star

Posted at Nov 07 2012 01:10 AM | Updated as of Nov 07 2012 07:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has barred Deputy Ombudsman for Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO) Emilio Gonzales III from reclaiming his post despite a reinstatement order issued by the Supreme Court (SC).

In a two-page memorandum dated Oct. 29, Morales said Gonzales, who was dismissed from the service by Malacañang last year due to the 2010 hostage incident in Rizal Park, could not return to work just yet.

Morales said the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has filed an urgent motion for clarification asking the SC to clarify the effectivity of Gonzales’ reinstatement order.

She decided to issue a status quo ante order because of queries from other officials of the Office of the Ombudsman asking for guidance and clarification.

“Prudence dictates the need to obviate further confusion affecting vital office operations pending the resolution of the urgent motion,” Morales said.

The Ombudsman explained that because the High Tribunal is yet to “definitively resolve” the issue on the immediate effectivity of the reinstatement order it issued in September, “the undersigned directs the maintenance of the status quo ante order” pending the resolution of the matter.

Morales’ memorandum also bars Gonzales from reassuming his duties, responsibilities, and functions as Deputy Ombudsman for MOLEO, which handles cases filed against the military, the police, and other law enforcement agencies of the government.

The status quo ante order also prevents him from claiming salaries and other backwages amounting to more than P1.8 million covering his “dismissal period.”

Gonzales showed up for work at the Ombudsman’s central office in Quezon City on Oct. 1, five days after the SC ordered him reinstated.

“The OP’s (Office of the President) 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 SC said in its decision dated Sept. 25.

Gonzales, after receiving a copy of the reinstatement order, submitted a memorandum to Morales informing her, the Commission on Audit (COA), and the Civil Service Commission (CSC), of his return to office.

Malacañang sacked Gonzales in May 2011 after former police captain Rolando Mendoza accused him of asking bribe money in exchange for a favorable decision in a case that he (Mendoza) was facing.

In August 2010, Mendoza took a bus full of Hong Kong tourists hostage and eventually killed eight of them before he was shot dead by responding lawmen.