‘Condonation doctrine’ not applicable to officials elected on or after April 12, 2016

Published March 3, 2021, 4:12 PM

by Rey Panaligan 

The “condonation doctrine” which used to extinguish the administrative liability of an elective public official once re-elected to the same post, can no longer be availed of by officials who were re-elected on or after April 12, 2016.

Supreme Court (SC) (MANILA BULLETIN)

The Supreme Court (SC), in decision released recently, said the doctrine was abandoned in 2016 with a ruling that its implementation is prospective or enforceable upon the finality of the decision.

The SC’s decision on the abandonment of the doctrine was dated April 12, 2016.

In a press statement, the SC’s public information office (PIO) said that clarification on the abandoned doctrine was contained in a recent decision which affirmed the Court of Appeals’ (CA) ruling that dismissed the administrative charges against Lucilo r. Bayron, former mayor of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, and his son, Karl Bayron.

An administrative complaint was filed against Lucilo, who won as mayor in 2013, for engaging the services of his son Karl as project manager for Bantay Puerto-VIP security task force with a monthly salary of P16,000 from July 2013 to December 2013.

Both father and son were found administratively liable and were ordered dismissed from the service by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2016. Lucio won in the 2015 recall elections in Puerto Princesa and he was re-elected mayor in the May 2016 local elections.

With the CA’s unfavorable ruling, they elevated their case to the SC. In a decision written by Associate Justice Edgardo L. Delos Santos, the SC upheld the appellate court’s ruling with a declaration that the abandonment of the condonation doctrine was clearly enforceable prospectively from April 12, 2016.

“With the abandonment of the condonation doctrine which became final on 12 April 2016, any re-elections of public officials on said date and onwards no longer have the effect of condoning their previous misconduct,” the SC said. It said the condonation doctrine is applicable through a recall election which presupposes the same collective resolution of the constituents to condone the alleged misconduct. This is no different from re-election by regular election.”

Thus, the SC said that the doctrine of condonation is applicable to Lucilo’s case by reason of his re-election during the 2015 recall elections. But, it stressed, it cannot be extended to Lucilo’s reelection in the May 2016 elections because the doctrine, by then, had already been abandoned and his re-election no longer had the effect of condoning his previous misconduct.