The Court of Appeals (CA) has junked the administrative raps against some provincial government officials over “simple neglect of duty”.

Associate justice Jhosep Y. Lopez, in a copy of the decision obtained by Palawan News, reversed an earlier ruling by the Ombudsman against bids and awards (BAC) committee members Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta, former Provincial Information Office (PIO) chief Gil P. Acosta, Analyn Rollan, Noel Aquino and Norma Arrieta over the alleged neglect upon procurement of rescue equipment from Armada Rescue and Safety Corporation (ARSC).

“It cannot be said that the petitioners committed any act or omission constituting the administrative offense. The petitioners acted with dispatch and earnest steps to urge the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) to act promptly on the referral made by the technical working group (TWG),” Lopez said.

Edwin and Ray Fernandez, proprietors of ARSC, filed the suit against the defendants insisting neglect on their failure to act on the bid sought by ARSC for PDRRMO rescue equipment.

The earlier ruling by the graft and corruption court resulted in the suspension of payment of the defendants.

The provincial government appealed on the decision seeking for its reversal on the appellate court on the ground that “due to circumstances beyond their control, the bidding documents remained unacted upon by the PDRRMO.”

The higher court decided in favor of the defendants, pointing out that “the petitioners acted with diligence” and that “no substantial evidence exists to sustain the administrative liability”.

The Court of Appeals reversed the earlier decision by the Ombudsman and exonerated the accused.

Lawyer Matta has yet to issue a statement as of press time after multiple attempts for an interview.