MANILA - The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed from service Philippine Normal University president Ester Ogena over a $25,000 advertising contract entered into by the school with Foreign Policy Magazine in 2011.
In a decision signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Ogena was found guilty of grave misconduct, along with other PNU officials namely Rebecca Nueva Espana, Joseph Luceno and Florence Allejos.
“Foregoing considered, pursuant to Section 46A-3 of the Revised Rules on Adminsitrative Cases in the Civil Service, respondents Ester Balating Ogena, Rebecca Corpuz Nueva Espana, Joseph Gepanaga Luceno and Florence Ablang Allejos are hereby found guilty of Grave Misconduct, and are meted the corresponding penalty of Dismissal From The Service including all accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of leave credits and retirement benefits, and disqualification for re-employment in the government service,” the Ombudsman said.
The officials were part of an irregular half-page advertorial in 2011 which apparently did not go through public bidding as they resorted to direct contracting as a mode of procurement.
Ogena justified the contract which she said in her counter-affidavit as “strongly recommeded” by then Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan as it will promote higher education in Southeast Asia.
The dismissal order also said that in case the penalty can no longer be enforced due to their separation from the service, the penalty “shall be converted into a FINE in the amount equivalent to respondents’ salary for one year, payable to the Office of the Ombudsman, and may be deductible from respondents’ retirement benefits, accrued leave credits or any reciable from respondents office.”