MANILAThe Court of Appeals (CA) downgraded from grave to simple misconduct the charges against former Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Siegfried Mison in connection with the questionable reassignment of an intelligence officer in 2015.
In a 15-page decision dated July 30 penned by Associate Justice Pedro Corales and was concurred by Associate Justices Rosmari Carandang and Elihu Ybanez, the CA's Third Division granted Mison's petition for review as it affirmed with modification the January 16, 2017 joint order of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Instead, the court found Mison guilty of simple misconduct and meted the penalty of three months suspension with the stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts will warrant a more severe penalty.
In the event that the penalty of suspension can no longer be enforced, a fine equivalent to [Mison's] three-month salary shall be imposed, payable to the [Ombudsman], and may be deductible from his accrued leave credits or any receivable from his office, the CA held.
The CA said Mison's petition was partly meritorious and pointed out that he is liable only for simple misconduct.
After a careful perusal of the records, we are convinced that Mison is not guilty of grave misconduct but should be held liable [for a lighter offense,], the court said.
Findings of fact by the OMB are conclusive when supported by substantial evidence or that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. However, this rule on conclusiveness of factual findings is not an absolute one, it added.
The case stemmed from Intelligence Agent II Ma. Irene Arsena Bello's complaint following her reassignment from the BI Main Office in Manila to its Davao District Office.
Bello received the reassignment order on July 28, 2015 and submitted her letter of appeal on the same day. She also appealed her case before the Civil Service Commission (CSC).
Later, Mison informed Bello that her name had been dropped from the rolls due to her alleged long, continuous, and unauthorized absences.
Following Bello's complaint, the Ombudsman ruled that the order lacked prior approval from the Justice Secretary.
The anti-graft office slapped Mison with dismissal from the service after finding him guilty of grave misconduct, prompting the former BI chief to seek redress before the appeals court. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency