Facebook photos lead to dismissal of gov't official

The state-run Philippine Information Agency sacks one of its managers after it discovered on Facebook that he went on AWOL to party in Boracay

Philippine Information Agency
Published 8:09 AM, July 04, 2012
Updated 1:47 PM, July 04, 2012

MANILA, Philippines - Facebook photos don't lie and may incriminate you.

Information Officer Maynardo E. Valdez found this out when his picture taken in Boracay and posted on Facebook were used in dismissing him from government service.

Valdez, manager of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Nueva Ecija Information Center, was ordered dismissed from service after being found liable for dishonesty, gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct. The dismissal from service was ordered by PIA Director-General Jose A. Fabia and was affirmed by Secretary Sonny Coloma of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office.

Records show that Valdez closed the Nueva Ecija Information Center for 4 days without authority as he went on absence without leave to attend a high school reunion in Boracay.

While in Boracay, Valdez ignored text messages and calls of his superiors but was prompt in sharing his Boracay pictures on his Facebook account.

Valdez’s pictures went with the caption: "Mabuhay! NEHS '75 Pasyal sa Boracay July 18-21, 2011." The days indicated in the pictures were the days Valdez closed the PIA office in Nueva Ecija. As Valdez was administratively charged, the PIA used the Facebook pictures as evidence against him.

“Fortunately for this office, which widely uses Facebook its programs and projects, respondent’s (Valdez) secret escapade to Boracay was exposed when his pictures were seen in the said social networking site,” the decision read.

“When the respondent closed the Nueva Ecija Information Center for 4 working days without authority, he deprived the people in Nueva Ecija of the multifarious PIA services,’ the decision added.

Director-General Fabia said that using Facebook to track an erring official and eventually imposing discipline against such official, as in the Valdez case, is a “first” for the Philippine government and perhaps a “first” in the world as well. - Philippine Information Agency

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