Court of Appeals reinstates Tuguegarao mayor Soriano
CAGAYAN, Philippines – Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano has been reinstated to his post after the Court of Appeals' (CA) 4th Division overturned the Office of the Ombudsman’s dismissal order against the local chief executive.
Soriano announced the CA decision to the media after he took his oath before Judge Maita Israel Deray at the Tuguegarao City Hall on Wednesday, September 6.
The mayor showed a copy of the decision of the CA, which ruled that Soriano should only be meted a 3-month suspension, and not dismissal from the service as ordered by the Ombudsman in January. (READ: Tuguegarao mayor: How to face cases and stay in office)
In its dismissal order, the Ombudsman said Soriano committed grave misconduct and grave abuse of authority when he gave a provisional permit to operate a parking terminal without the approval of the city council.
The appellate court disagreed and ruled that the mayor only committed simple misconduct, a violation that carries a penalty of 90 days suspension.
“Grave abuse of authority is a misdemeanor committed by a public officer, who under color of his office, wrongfully inflicts upon any person bodily harm, imprisonment, or other injury; it is an act of cruelty, severity, or excessive use of authority,” the CA decision said.
Following his reinstatement, the CA said the 3-month suspension should be counted from the time Soriano stepped down from office on February 10, to May 10.
The court also said that Soriano is entitled to back salaries and other benefits due him for the period not covered by the 3-month suspension.
The decision, promulgated on August 30, was penned by CA 4th Division Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta. – Rappler.com