Negros vice mayor faces raps for unlawful dismissal

Published by rudy Date posted on January 16, 2011

MANILA, Philippines –  The Office of the Ombudsman for the Visayas has ordered the filing of charges against the vice mayor of Escalante City in Negros Occidental for the unlawful dismissal of three city employees.

Vice Mayor Santiago Barcelona Jr. was charged before the Sandiganbayan with 11 counts of violation of Republic Act 6656 or the Security of Tenure Act for allegedly unlawfully terminating complainant Emerson Bermejo and two others.

In their complaint, the three city employees alleged that they were terminated during Barcelona’s term as mayor.

They appealed their termination before the Civil Service Commission (CSC), which ordered their reappointment and payment of their back salaries.

In its resolution, the Ombudsman-Visayas junked Barcelona’s defense that it was not he but the Personnel Selection Board which terminated the complainants after they supposedly failed to qualify for any of the positions declared vacant due to the reorganization of the city government.

The Ombudsman-Visayas ruled that Barcelona did not present evidence showing how the Personnel Selection Board and the Placement Committee came up with their decision finding the complainants not qualified to any of the positions declared vacant.

Quoting the CSC decision, the Ombudsman-Visayas said the complainants “were not duly notified that they would be laid off prior to their termination and were not given the opportunity to present their side before they were terminated.”

The Ombudsman-Visayas also ordered the filing of charges against Ricardo Barrios Jr., labor arbiter of the National Labor Relations Commission-Regional Arbitration Branch No. VII in Cebu City for violation of Section 7(d) of RA 6713 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The case against Barrios stemmed from charges filed by lawyer Armando Alforque, legal counsel of the winning parties in a labor case filed before the labor arbiter.

In his complaint, Alforque alleged that Barrios called him via a mobile phone to negotiate a reduction in the award of back wages and separation pay to his clients, in behalf of lawyer Manollete Dinsay, legal counsel of the other party.

In its resolution, the Ombudsman-Visayas ruled that Barrios went beyond his duties as a labor arbiter by getting in touch with Alforque to relay the message of Dinsay that the latter’s client would want to settle the case for P250,000. –Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star)

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