CA upholds suspension of PDEA official

Published May 28, 2018, 7:05 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Jeffrey Damicog

The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the Office of the Ombudsman order to preventively suspend an official of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Court of Appeals
(Credits: KJ Rosales | Manila Bulletin file photo)

In a 10-page decision, the CA denied the motion of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director for Intelligence and Investigation Service Randy Pedroso who sought to stop the Ombudsman’s suspension order issued on July 19, 2017.

The appellate court pointed out there was no sign of arbitrariness in the resolution issued by the Ombudsman in ordering Pedroso’s suspension.

“Such finding is not tainted with grave abuse of discretion as it was anchored on supporting documentary evidence attached to the complaint,” read the CA ruling penned by Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla and concurred by Justices Eduardo Peralta Jr. and Nina Antonio Valenzuela.

“While due process may be relied upon by public officials to protect their security of tenure which, in a limited sense, is analogous to property, such fundamental right to security of tenure cannot be invoked against a preventive suspension order which is a preventive measure, not imposed as a penalty,” the court also reminded.

Pedroso was placed under preventive suspension along with five other PDEA officials over the complaint they are facing before the Ombudsman over their involvement in the alleged anomalous lease of luxury vehicles from January to June 2013 for PDEA’s operations.

The companies which rented the vehicles were also allegedly spurious and these are the SSMM Vehicle Rental Services and BEMV Transport Services.

Under the complaint, the respondents are accused of having committed malversation through falsification, violation of Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), and violation of Section 10 of Republic Act 9184 which requires all procurement be subject to competitive bidding.

They are also facing administrative charges of grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.