Court of Appeals junks Bernaldez petition

BATO, Camarines Sur —The 12th Division of the Court of Appeals has dismissed the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition filed by petitioner Jeanette O.R. Bernaldez, municipal mayor here questioning the Joint Resolution dated January 28, 2015 of Assistant Ombudsman Jennifer Jardin-Manalili in OMB-L-C-10-07-11-J, for violation of Section of Sectioin 3 (e) of RA No. 3019, and OMB-L-A-10-0685-J, for Oppression, Abuse of Authority and Violation of RA No. 6713, criminal and administrative cases, respectively.

Right: Mayor Jeanette Bernaldez Left: Court of Appeals
Photos by Bato MPS, CA
The said resolution of the Ombudsman imposed a 6-month and one day suspension against Bernaldez without pay.

The CA said that the petition filed by Bernaldez deserves an outright dismissal for being premature.

“Although petitioner Bernaldez filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Joint Resolution, there is no indication that the same has been resolved by the office of the Ombudsman,” the CA said.

“Time and again, jurisprudence dictates that the filing of a motion for reconsideration is required before resort to the extraordinary remedy of certiorari to afford the court or quasi-judicial body which rendered the assailed order to correct a mistake committed by inadvertence,” the CA added.

Moreover, if there is any order issued by the Office of the Ombudsman resolving petitioner’s motion for reconsideration, the original or certified true copy of the said order was not attached to the Petition. Likewise, sorely missing is the date of the receipt of the order or resolution denying petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration, which is a material allegation that must be stated in the Petition pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 46, of the Rules of Court. Absent such material statement, the timeliness of the filing of the instant Petition cannot be precisely determined, the decision said.

Meanwhile, the CA also stated that even if the procedural lapses were brushed aside, it cannot take cognizance over the Petition for lack of jurisdiction.

The Joint Resolution rendered by the Office of the Ombudsman is an adjudication of both the criminal and administrative charges against Bernaldez.

The Ombudsman Act does not provide the remedy of appeal from the decisions of the Ombudsman in criminal or non-administrative cases, as its jurisdiction if only limited over administrative disciplinary case.

It will be recalled that despite receipt of the suspension order imposed by the Ombudsman thru the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director Elouisa T. Pastor, and Provincial Director Arnel Renato L. Madrideo, Bernaldez continuously defied said order.

Bernaldez remained in her office as she contended that she was still waiting for the resolution of this petition pending with the CA.

As this developed, Acting Mayor Alvin Sacueza told the media that he instructed the Philippine National Police (PNP) of this town to enforce the decision of the Ombudsman, especially regarding the presence of some of Bernaldez’ who still occupy the Office of the Mayor.

Sacueza said that the local PNP has until July 16 to comply with the order. Otherwise, he will be compelled to request for the immediate relief of the local PNP.

Meanwhile, Barnaldez’ supporters said the beleaguered mayor will raise the latest order issued by the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court.

The signatories in the CA decision were Associate Justices Zenaida T. Galapate- Laguelles, Mariflor P. Punzalan Castillo asnd Florito S. Macalino of the 12th Divison of the CA.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM


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