Bayron retains mayoralty; CA overturns Ombudsman ruling

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Mayor Lucilo Bayron retains his seat as mayor of Puerto Princesa City after all, following a decision released on Monday by the Court of Appeals (CA) dismissing the complaint filed against him before the Ombudsman.

In a 17-page ruling dated May 8 and released by the 6th Division of the CA, the appeals body overturned the Ombudsman’s order terminating Bayron for a case of “serious dishonesty”.

The CA ruling stopped on its track the implementation by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) of the Ombudsman’s decision terminating him from public service.

In reversing the Ombudsman, the CA stated that the alleged misconduct had been “condoned” since the latter had won as mayor during the May 8, 2015 recall elections.

“The cold hard fact is that after the purported misrepresentation, petitioner was re-elected in a recall election held on May 8, 2015 when the Aguinaldo Doctrine was still in force,” the ruling, penned by Associate Justice Japar B. Dimaampao, stated.

The court was referring to a legal doctrine which states that an administrative misconduct committed during a previous term is “deemed condoned” once the official wins an election.

Pointing out that while the so-called Aguinaldo doctrine had already been abandoned by the Supreme Court in a subsequent case, it still applied to the Madreo vs. Bayron case because the doctrine was “still in force” when the complaint was filed.

“Petitioner’s [Bayron] re-election on May 8 operates as a condonation of his alleged previous misconduct to the extent of cutting off the right to remove him therefrom,” the ruling stated.

The Ombudsman ruled in November 2016 to penalize Bayron and his co-accused son Karl Bayron for “grave misconduct and serious dishonesty” but reversed itself in a subsequent order on June 23. Last week, on July 11, it again reversed its stand to convict Bayron.

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