Ombuds verdict: Yap can’t be out

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Ombuds verdict: Yap can’t be out

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Third District Rep. Arthur Yap has finally spoken against insinuations dragging him into the Ombudsman’s verdict against former TESDA secretary and now Senator Joel Villanueva.

The Ombudsman ruling in the clearly stated that it has no jurisdiction over Yap and dismissed the charges against him.

In its Decision dated July 15, 2016, the Ombudsman ruled that its “authority to directly remove erring public officials does not include members of Congress and the Judiciary who may be removed only by impeachment.”

At the time the complaint was filed, Yap was the elected Representative of the third district of Bohol. Hence, the Ombudsman does not have disciplinary authority over him.

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The Ombudsman, however, ruled that it has disciplinary authority over Villanueva who was the appointed Director General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (“TESDA”), a cabinet level position, at the time the complaint was filed.

The Ombudsman cited Republic Act 6770 and Administrative Order 07, providing that the Ombudsman exercises disciplinary authority over “all elective and appointive officials of the government and its subdivision, instrumentalities and agencies, including Members of Cabinet.”

The Ombudsman also ruled that the “condonation doctrine” does not apply to Villanueva since he was not a re-elected official then.

Moreover, the “condonation doctrine” was already abandoned in the case of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales vs. Court of Appeals and Jejomar Binay Jr.

Hence, “from the date of the finality of the Supreme Court Decision on April 12, 2016 and onwards, the condonation doctrine will no longer be applied, regardless of when the administrative infraction was committed, when the disciplinary complaint was filed, or when the concerned public official was elected.”

Villanueva was charged over irregularities in the use of his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

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Senator Emmanuel Joel Villanueva was ordered dismissed from government service after he was found guilty by the Ombudsman for the misuse of P10 million in the implementation of agri-based livelihood projects in the various congressional districts in Region Xl during his term as party list representative.

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Villanueva, however, categorically denied his involvement in the fund irregularities.

Yap, on the other hand, was included in the criminal complaint before the Sandiganbayan for acceding to the request of Villanueva to release the P10 million to the National Agribusiness Corporation (NABCOR), two days after the amount was released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

According to the Ombudsman, Yap, as Department of Agriculture (DA) representative entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on June 19, 2008 with Alan Javellana, NABCOR president at that time, now a defunct agency of the DA that paved the way for the P10 million to fall into the hands of Aaron Foundation Philippines, Inc. (AFPI).

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Yap, had filed a motion for reconsideration to the Ombudsman findings. The motion for reconsideration is for the criminal aspect of the case, since the administrative case against Yap was already dismissed.

Yap clarified that he never contracted with any NGO and never implemented any PDAF project with any NGO.

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All PDAF funds coursed through the DA were transferred to government agencies for implementation.

“I am innocent of these charges,” Yap pointed out.

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