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Ombudsman suspends Batangas councilor

“Respondent’s bragging of his position and using the name of Undersecretary Abadilla to demand for the immediate release of his passport is a display of arrogance which cannot be countenanced.” Philstar.com/File photo

BATANGAS, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the one-year suspension from office without pay of Florencio Pesigan, a municipal councilor of Talisay town in Batangas.

In a nine-page decision approved by Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard A. Mosquera, Pesigan was found administratively liable for Oppression and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.

“Considering that respondent is guilty of two (2) grave offenses, the appropriate penalty to be imposed is the maximum penalty of one year suspension from office without pay,” the decision read. 

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Edgardo Nogra Auman, a security officer assigned at the Regional Consular Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs at Robinson’s Place, Lipa City. 

Auman alleged that on July 19, 2016, the respondent arrived at the DFA office to get his passport.

When Pesigan was advised to wait to be called, he said: “Bakit kailangan pang i-verify yan? Nakatimbre iyan ay USec (undersecretary). Kilalanin mo muna ako. Anong pangalan mo? Ipatatanggal kita, hindi mo ako kilala?Ipapatanggal kita.”

The councilor immediately went to the releasing officer to demand for the immediate release of his passport.

The matter was then referred to DFA Lipa’s Director Jesusa “Nancy” Garcia. When the respondent was asked to wait while Garcia was attending to other applicants, Auran alleged that Pesigan went out of control, asserting that he was a councilor. 

In his counter-affidavit, respondent claimed that despite his explanation that DFA Manila instructed him to go to DFA Lipa City to get his passport, he was not allowed to go inside the director’s office.  

He also said that the complainant informed Director Garcia via radio of what was happening and raised the volume of the radio, loud enough for other people in the area to hear what he was saying. 

In its ruling, the ombudsman said that “Respondent’s bragging of his position and using the name of Undersecretary Abadilla to demand for the immediate release of his passport is a display of arrogance which cannot be countenanced.” 

Based on the decision dated Sept. 7, 2017, the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government is directed to implement the decision immediately.

Just last month, the Batangas Provincial Board also ordered the ninety-day suspension of Pesigan who was found guilty of conduct unbecoming of a public officer.

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