Palace upholds dismissal of former DOTR-CAR official

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BAGUIO CITY  – The office of the President found former assistant regional director Datu Mohammad Nasser C. Abbas of the Cordillera office of the Department of Transportation (DOTR-CAR) guilty for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and ordered the imposition of the penalty of dismissal from the service with all its accessory penalties.

In a 9 page decision dated March 26, 2019, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea stated that in the administrative case against Abbas, the attending facts and the pieces of evidence on record point to no other conclusion than the administrative liability of the former DOTR-CAR official for gross misconduct.

The decision added that the affidavits of numerous individuals against Abbas clearly establish his guilt.

“We give credence to the testimony of the above complaints because they testified based on their personal knowledge, and they were the ones who personally know and transacted with the respondent. The records also show that the complainants actually witnessed the illegal transactions of respondent Abbas. Their affidavits specifically alleged that respondent illegally apprehended and impounded their vehicles and demanded and collected money from them in exchange for the release of their motor vehicles,” the decision stressed.

The decision asserted that corollary thereto, they candidly, positively and categorically identified respondent Abbas as the person who apprehended and illegally impounded their motor vehicles.

According to the decision, the civil service law and rules does not provide for concrete description of what specific acts constitute the grave offense of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and juries prudence, however, is instructive on the said point wherein the court has considered acts of commissions as conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service such as misappropriation of public funds, abandonment of office, failure to report back to work without prior notice, failure to safe keep public records and property, making false entries in public documents, falsification of court documents  among others.

The decision disclosed that the complained act of Abbas brandishing and totting a gun against a certain Regina A. Migano, an employee of Garcia Medical Clinic, which tarnished the image and integrity of his public office, constitute the administrative offense of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Based on the outcome of the investigation of the Office of the President, Abbas demonstrated grave misconduct in the course of the apprehension and impoundment of the motor vehicles of the complainants wherein he did not comply with the provisions of existing orders relative thereto.

The decision claimed that Abbas also failed to follow the guidelines for inspections, enforcement, and apprehensions laid out in existing rules and regulations.

“The sheer number of sworn statements attesting to such circumstances could not reasonably be ignored by the Office of the President more so in the said case that these eyewitnesses statements corroborate each other. As pointed by the DOTR resolution, said individuals do not appear to be motivated by ill will to falsely testify against respondent Abbas, thus, the office finds that private complaints substantially established respondent Abbas liability for grave misconduct,” the decision stipulated.

As per the charge of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, the OP likewise found sufficient ground to hold Abbas liable therefore.

The instant case stemmed from the complaints of a number of individuals against Abbas accusing him of misconduct or irregularities in office such as allegedly directly and indirectly accepting sums of money to facilitate the issuance of certificates of public convenience (CPCs); extorting money in exchange for the release of impounded vehicles, accepting commissions from medical and notarial fees relative to franchise applications and brandishing and totting a gun against certain individuals.

Abbas assailed the validity of the charges against him on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.

However, in a resolution dated August 20, 2018, the DOTR recommended that Abbas be adjudged liable for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and he be dismissed from the service.

By HENT

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