March 04, 2021 at 12:50 am
Rey E. Requejo
The doctrine of condonation can no longer be invoked by elected public officials as a defense in administrative cases if they have been re-elected on or after April 12, 2016, according to the Supreme Court.
The high court made the clarification in a recent decision, which affirmed the Court of Appeals’ ruling that dismissed the administrative cases against Lucilo Bayron, former mayor of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, and his son Karl Bayron.
The SC said the “condonation doctrine” that used to extinguish the administrative liability of an elective public official once re-elected to the same post cannot be availed by officials who were reelected on or after April 12, 2016.
The high court said the doctrine, which was abandoned in 2016, is prospective or enforceable upon finality of the decision.
Court records showed that the administrative complaint was filed against Lucilo, who won as mayor in 2013, for engaging the services of his son Karl as project manager for Bantay Puerto-VIP security task force with a monthly salary of P16,000 from July 2013 to December 2013.
The Office of the Ombudsman found both father and son administratively liable and it consequently ordered their dismissal from the service in 2016.
Lucio won in the 2015 recall elections in Puerto Princesa and he was re-elected mayor in the May 2016 local elections.
The petitioners assailed the ordered of the anti-graft body dismissing them from service before the Court of Appeals, which ruled against them.
This prompted the Bayrons to elevate the case before the SC.
In a decision penned by Associate Justice Edgardo L. Delos Santos, the SC denied for lack of merit the petitions of the father and son and instead sustained the CA’s decision, saying that the abandonment of the condonation doctrine was clearly enforceable prospectively from April 12, 2016.
“With the abandonment of the condonation doctrine which became final on 12 April 2016, any re-elections of public officials on said date and onwards no longer have the effect of condoning their previous misconduct,” the SC held.
But the high court ruled that the condonation doctrine is applicable through a recall election which presupposes the same collective resolution of the constituents to condone the alleged misconduct. This is no different from re-election by regular election.”
The SC said that the doctrine of condonation is applicable to Lucilo’s case by reason of his re-election during the 2015 recall elections.
However, the tribunal pointed out that it cannot be extended to Lucilo’s reelection in the May 2016 elections because the doctrine, by then, had already been abandoned and his re-election no longer had the effect of condoning his previous misconduct.