A town official in Cebu—who as mayor was accused of appointing his brother as the human resource management officer of the town— was acquitted of a nepotism case filed against him by the Ombudsman because it was his predecessor who originally appointed his brother to the position.
The Sandiganbayan’s Special Third Division acquitted Barili Vice Mayor Teresito Mariñas, who as mayor was accused of appointing his brother Aniceto as HRMO of the town in 2007.
The court said the Ombudsman failed to prove the guilt of Teresito and lifted hold departure order issued against him in connection with the case.
Nepotism is defined by the Administrative Code of 1987 as the act of appointing relatives up to the third degree of consanguinity by the head of any national, provincial, city, and municipal governments or in any branch of the government, including government-owned or -controlled corporations.
The court said Teresito was not guilty of nepotism because it was his predecessor who appointed Aniceto to the position.
“To be sure, the accused did not exercise any ‘nepotic’ discretion when he issued a special assignment to his brother to perform the duties of an HRMO Personnel Officer. To reiterate, his brother Aniceto was appointed to the position of administrative assistant by the accused’s predecessor,” Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang said in the decision.
“The duties and responsibilities of an administrative assistant already include the duties and responsibilities of an HRMO Personnel Officer, hence, the issuance of the said special assignment did not amount to nepotism,” she added.
In addition, the court noted that the special assignment given to Aniceto does not largely differ from his duties, when he was appointed by Teresito’s predecessor.
“Thus, based on the evidence, fifty percent (50%) of the duties and responsibilities of Aniceto P. Marinas as an Administrative Assistant pertains to the performance of the duties and responsibilities of an HRMO.
“Logically, the accused could not have “appointed/designated” his brother, Aniceto, to the position of HRMO considering that the performance of the duties and responsibilities thereof is already included in his duties and responsibilities as the administrative assistant of the Municipality of Barili, Cebu.”