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The Court of Appeals (CA) has scrapped the administrative complaint filed by actor-turned-politician Richard Gomez against Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, Police Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, and Police Officer 3 Hydie Yutrago, who claimed he was involved in the illegal drug trade of the Espinosa clan in Albuera municipality, Leyte.
In a 12-page decision penned by Associate Justice Eleuterio Bathan, the CA’s 13th Division affirmed the June 28, 2019 decision and the resolution dated July 24, 2020 issued by the National Police Commission (Napolcom) en banc.
The Napolcom en banc dismissed Gomez’s complaint of grave misconduct, dishonesty, and conduct unbecoming of a police officer against the respondents for lack of substantial evidence and legal standing.
Gomez, currently Leyte’s 4th district representative, had argued that the Napolcom committed a serious and reversible error when it ruled that he could not legally push for a reappraisal of the decision absolving said policemen.
“In administrative cases, appeals are extended to the party adversely affected by the decision, which refers to the government employee against whom the administrative case is filed for the purpose of disciplinary action, or the disciplining authority whose decision is in question,” the CA said.
“The fact that the petitioner is the then-mayor of Ormoc City is of no moment. It is established that in administrative cases, a complainant is a mere witness. No private interest is involved in an administrative case as the offense committed is against the government. In fact, the Supreme Court has held that a private complainant in an administrative case has no right to appeal the decision of the disciplining authority,” it added.
Drug trade accusations
On November 16, 2016, Gomez filed a complaint affidavit against Espenido, Laraga, and Yutrago for grave misconduct, dishonesty, and conduct unbecoming.
He accused the policemen of violating the commitment orders of Espinosa clan bodyguards and staff Marcelo Adorco, Jose Antipuesto, Jessie Ocares, and Jeffrey Pesquera.
He also claimed that Laraga publicly accused him of being involved in the drug trade with the Espinosas without any basis.
Gomez also accused Espenido and Yutrago of fixing the “ready-made” affidavits of Max Miro, Galo Stephen Bobares and Brian Anthony Gates, the alleged men of self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa. – Rappler.com