Ombudsman suspends Batangas councilor for demanding special treatment, cursing at passport queue

Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 06 2017 12:57 PM

BATANGAS CITY - Calling out his "display of arrogance," the Office of the Ombudsman has suspended Talisay town Councilor Florencio Pesigan for one year without pay for demanding special treatment and berating personnel while claiming his passport at a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) consular office last year. 

In a 9-page decision approved by Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera, Pesigan was found administratively liable for Oppression and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. 

“Considering that respondent is guilty of two (2) grave offenses, the appropriate penalty to be imposed is the maximum penalty of one year suspension from office without pay,” the decision read. 

The ruling followed the Batangas Provincial Board's decision just last month to suspend Pesigan for 90 days after he was found guilty of conduct unbecoming a public officer.

The Ombudsman case stemmed from a complaint filed by Edgardo Nogra Auman, security officer at the DFA Regional Consular Office at Robinson’s Place, Lipa City. 

Auman alleged that on July 19, 2016, Pesigan arrived at the DFA office to claim his passport, but when asked to be seated and wait to be called, he started berating officers. 

“Bakit kailangan pang i-verify yan? Nakatimbre iyan kay Usec. Kilalanin mo muna ako. Anong pangalan mo? Ipatatanggal kita, hindi mo ako kilala, ipapatanggal kita!” Pesigan said, as Auman alleged in the complaint. 

The councilor then suddenly went to the releasing officer to demand the immediate release of his passport, according to Auman's complaint. 

The matter was referred to DFA Lipa Director Jesusa Garcia, but when Pesigan was asked to wait while Garcia was attending to other applicants, Pesigan became wild, Auman said. 

The official then started berating him and said: “P****g i** mo, konsehal ako!”

In his counter-affidavit, the councilor claimed that while he explained that DFA Manila had instructed him to go to DFA Lipa City to get his passport, he was not allowed to go inside the director’s office. 

He said the complainant informed Director Garcia via radio of what was happening and raised the volume of the radio loud enough for those in the area to hear what he was saying. 

In it’s ruling, the Ombudsman said that “respondent’s bragging of his position and using the name of [an] Undersecretary to demand for the immediate release of his passport is a display of arrogance which cannot be countenanced.” 

The decision dated Sept. 7 directed the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to implement the decision immediately.