CA division reinstates Tuguegarao mayor Soriano

REINSTATED. Mayor Jefferson Soriano faces the media during his oathtaking as reinstated mayor on Wednesday, September 6. Photo by Gerard Lucena

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- The Court of Appeals (CA) Fourth Division ordered for the “immediate” reinstatement of Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano, overturning the Ombudsman’s dismissal order in January.

Soriano took oath before Judge Maita Deray Israel at the Tuguegarao City Hall on Wednesday, September 6. There, he announced the CA decision.

In a copy presented to reporters, the CA decision said Soriano should only be meted with three months suspension, instead of dismissal from service.

The Ombudsman, in its dismissal order, said Soriano committed grave abuse of authority when he gave a provisional permit to operate to a parking terminal without the approval of the city council.

The appellate court, however, disagreed that the mayor only committed simple misconduct, a violation that should be imposed with 90 days suspension as penalty.

“Grave abuse of authority is a misdemeanor committed by a public officer, who under color of his office, wrongfully inflicts upon any person bodily harm, imprisonment, or other injury; it is an act of cruelty, severity, or excessive use of authority,” the CA decision reads.

With his reinstatement, CA said the 3-month suspension should be served during period Soriano stepped down from the office starting February 10 up to May 10.

The decision also said Soriano is entitled to back salaries and other benefits to the period not covered by the 3-month suspension.

The decision, promulgated on August 30, was penned by Fourth Division Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta.

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