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DOMINGO V.

OFFICE

OF THE

OMBUDSMAN

G.R. NO. 176127, JANUARY 30 2009

FACTS: A complaint for malversation, falsification of public


document, dishonesty and grave misconduct was filed against
Barangay Chairman Domingo by Sangguniang Kabataan
officials Paguio, Esguerra and Neil Patrick H. Celis (NPH yes,
NPH talaga, wait for it..)
NPH et al. alleged that: In 2003, Domingo gave a false
statement in his Justification supporting the 2003 Barangay
Budget and Expenditures. The Justification provides that his
barangay had no incumbent SK officials at that time contrary to
the fact that NPH et al. are duly elected and incumbent SK
officials of the barangay.
Domingo asserted that all financial transactions of the
barangay, particularly the expenditures, were supported by
pertinent documents and properly liquidated. He also
questioned the authenticity of the Justification and that his
signature therein was forged.
The ombudsman rendered judgment finding Domingo guilty of
violation of Section 4(b) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical
Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Code of
Conduct)1 and was suspended for 6 months. Domingo was also
held administratively liable for the irregular submission of a
falsified instrument to the Manila Barangay Bureau in
connection with his barangays 2003 budget.

authenticity of a signature in a document necessitate judicial


determination.
Domingo filed an MR. The OMB reiterated that Domingo was not
made administratively liable for falsification but for the
submission of the Justification. The OMB held that being the
Chief Executive Officer of the barangay, Domingo assumes full
responsibility on the propriety of all documents submitted in
support of the proposed budget. The CA affirmed the decision of
the OMB.
Domingos position:
(1) One cannot be indicted for the submission of a document which he
himself has repudiated (main argument).
(2) He cannot be held administratively liable for any act beyond his
control and knowledge under the Code of Conduct. The act for which
he was indicted is clearly beyond his knowledge and control. He could
not have possibly falsified his own signature. If he was responsible for
the insertion of the Justification, he could have put his genuine
signature instead of falsifying it.
(3) He has no access or control over the submission of documents
relative to the release of funds for specific projects, as the
responsibility rests either with the Barangay Secretary or Treasurer.
(4) The 6 month suspension is excessive in view of the fact that no
undue injury or damage is done to the cause of public service, or to
NPH et al. themselves.

OMBs position:
(1) The submission of a Justification which contains a false declaration
runs afoul of the conduct a public servant must exhibit at all times
(highest sense of honesty and integrity).
(2) The penalty is also in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

However, the charge of misappropriation was dismissed for


being premature since the audit of the subject barangay ISSUE: Whether or not Domingos right to due process was
transaction had not been concluded by the Office of the City violated.
Auditor. The OMB also dismissed the charge of falsification of
public document on the ground that questions pertaining to the HELD: YES. The due process requirement mandates that every
accused be appraised of the nature and cause of the charge
against him, and the evidence in support thereof be shown or
1
(b) Professionalism. - Public officials and employees shall perform and discharge their made available to him so that he can meet the charge with
duties with the highest degree of excellence, professionalism, intelligence and skill. traversing or exculpatory evidence. A cursory reading of the
They shall enter public service with utmost devotion and dedication to duty. They shall
endeavor to discourage wrong perceptions of their roles as dispensers or peddlers of complaint does not reveal that Domingo was charged with
undue patronage.

POLITICAL LAW REVIEW | ATTY. JACK JIMENEZ | MARK JOREL O. CALIDA

violation of Sec. 4(b) of the Code of Conduct. Likewise, in the administrative liability. The rules specificially mention at least
OMBs Evaluation Report, the charges indicated were for 23 acts or omissions as grounds for administrative disciplinary
malversation, falsification, dishonesty and grave misconduct
action. Failure to abide by the norms of conduct under Section
4(b) is not one of them.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Domingo should be made
administratively liable.
HELD: NO. There is no substantial evidence establishing his
culpability. Domingo had a hand in the preparation and
submission of the documents in support of the 2003 budget,
such as the budget proposal, barangay development plan etc.
However, in all these documents, the existence of the SK was
recognized and corresponding allocations were made for it. With
these attestations on Domingos part, there is no reason for him
to issue the questioned Justification and attest to the nonexistence of these SK officials.
The sole evidence relied upon by the OMB in holding petitioner
liable is the undated Justification. The handwritten entry "Copy
Budget 2004" appears to be a clerical error because the
Justification was ostensibly made in connection with the 2003
budget. The OMB stated that "the fact of whether or not the
Justification was intended for 2003 or 2004 budget is immaterial
as the irregularity of its entry in the records of the barangay
bureau was the issue. However, its entry into the barangay
records was in itself questionable.
In both cases, the submission of the Justification cannot be
logically pinpointed to Domingo. If the Justification was intended
for 2003, there would have been a gross inconsistency between
the Justification and the documents relating to the 2003 budget
submitted by Domingo. Likewise, if the Justification was
intended for 2004, NPH et al. should have presented the 2004
budget since the burden is on them to prove the charges
against Domingo. They failed to do so.
The 2003 budget contained an appropriation item for the SK.
Thus, if at all, the Justification is a stray and aberrant document
which could not have emanated from petitioner.
Furthermore the IRR of the Code of Conduct does not provide
that failure to observe the norms of conduct is a ground for
POLITICAL LAW REVIEW | ATTY. JACK JIMENEZ | MARK JOREL O. CALIDA