The Supreme Court has affirmed a decision by the Court of Appeals to dismiss a case that sought to reverse the acquittal of former Cabadbaran City Mayor Dale Corvera, of any administrative liability over reimbursements he allegedly made for his personal expenses.
In a decision dated February 20 but made public Wednesday, the Supreme Court’s Second Division denied for lack of merit the petition for review on certiorari filed in 2018 by members of the city council led by former Vice Mayor Harris Glenn Puyot.
“The Courts resolves to deny the petition for failure to sufficiently show any reversible error in the assailed judgment to warrant the exercise of this Court’s discretionary appellate jurisdiction,” the ruling said.
Filed by Puyot and allied councilors, reportedly upon the orders of Agusan del Norte Rep. Erlpe John Amante, the case stemmed from a 2015 complaint submitted before the Office of the Ombudsman Mindanao pertaining to Corvera’s reimbursements of his scouting-related travels as a member of the Boy Scout of the Philippines (BSP) National Executive Board and International Commissioner during his incumbency as mayor.
Complainants alleged, among others, that Corvera had no legal basis to claim reimbursements of his BSP-related travels on the supposed ground that the travels were personal in nature and not for a public purpose, which did not redound to the city’s benefit.
In his counter-affidavit, Corvera argued vehemently that the scouting travels he attended to were not his personal transactions but in pursuance to his role as the city’s chief executive and hence the same were for a public purpose which fostered the development of the city’s youth sector, pursuant to his essential powers to promote the general welfare of the city.
Likewise, Corvera questioned the veracity of the photocopied documents attached to the complaint since they were not certified to as true copies by the Commission on Audit (COA), consequently ruling out their authenticity.
Corvera contended that he cannot be simply triedadministratively on the basis of mere photocopies which are inadmissible. The Ombudsman Mindanao, however, ruled in favor of the complainants.
Unfazed and believing in the merit of his arguments, Corvera appealed the Ombudsman’s decision to the CA . In its decision, the appellate court reversed the decision of the Ombudsman Mindanao and dismissed the case against the former mayor.
The CA held that Corvera’s scouting travels were not personal transactions but for a public purpose citing the case of the Boy Scout of the Philippines vs COA which emphasized that the BSP is a public corporation performing governmental functions.
The CA also adopted Corvera’s arguments assailing the authenticity of the photocopied documents, essentially stating that the Ombudsman erred in holding the former mayor administratively liable on the basis of unverified documents.
On the same note, the CA likewise highlighted the fact that even the COA did not find any irregularities or adverse findings regarding Corvera’s scouting travels.
Assailing the CA’s decision dismissing the administrative case against Corvera, complainants filed a petition for review on certiorari to the high court questioning CA’s findings. The SC, however, denied the petition.
Sought for comment, Corvera said he was elated by the high court’s decision as it vindicated him from the malicious accusations thrown against him by his political enemies.
“I feel vindicated. The truth has always been with me. And it set me free,” Corvera said
Corvera, who is allied with Agusan del Norte Gov. Angel Amante-Matba, is gunning for the gubernatorial post this coming 2019 local elections against newcomer Juan Miguel Amante, the son of incumbent Rep. Erlpe John Amante.
Angel Amante-Matba, on the other hand, is now up to snatch Erlpe John out of his post.