CA affirms dismissal of ex-Iloilo City mayor Mabilog

MANILA -- The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the Office of the Ombudsman's order dismissing Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog from his post over allegations of ill-gotten wealth.

The CA's Special 1st Division junked Mabilog's petition for certiorari of for lack of merit in a four-page resolution dated November 3, 2017 penned by Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando and concurred by Associate Justices Remedios Salazar-Fernando and Zenaida T. Galapate-Laguilles.

The CA also denied Mabilog's plea for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to halt the Office of the Ombudsman from implementing its order.

"(T)he instant petition for certiorari with prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order/Writ of Preliminary Injunction is Dismissed," the resolution reads.

The CA said Mabilog took the wrong mode of appeal in connection with the dismissal order approved by Overall Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang on October 6.

The former mayor invoked Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, which is normally used to question lower court orders and government actions before the Supreme Court, instead of Rule 43 which provides that appeals from Ombudsman decisions in administrative disciplinary cases should be taken to the CA.

Mabilog's case, involving as it does an administrative charge resulting in his dismissal from service, does not fall under any of the foregoing circumstance. As the current petition for certiorari is concededly an erroneous mode of review, its dismissal is in order," the CA said.

Mabilog was ordered dismissed after the Ombudsman found him guilty of serious dishonesty for failing to explain how his wealth grew from 2012 to 2013.

His Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) in 2013 showed a PHP8.9-million increase from his 2012 records, or from PHP59.4 million to PHP68.3 million.

Because his salary and other forms of income did not account for the sudden increase, and his failure to present a proof of income from the business interests listed on his SALN, the Ombudsman ruled that Mabilog had malicious intent to hide the source of his sudden wealth.

He was also meted the accessory penalties of cancellation of civil service eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification from holding office.

The former mayor was one of the local officials President Rodrigo Duterte has linked to illegal drugs, an accusation Mabilog has repeatedly denied.

Mabilog, who was succeeded by his vice mayor Jose Espinosa III, left the country on August 30 for an official trip to Japan and Malaysia, and filed a sick leave to seek medical treatment abroad in September, which he extended to October.

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on October 18 issued a memorandum circular appointing Vice Mayor Espinosa as chief executive of Iloilo City upon the directive of the Ombudsman.

Source: Philippine News Agency