Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the dismissal from the service of Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano, after he was found guilty of Grave Misconduct and Abuse of Authority. The dismissal order comes with the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, forfeiture of retirement benefits and cancellation of eligibility.
Soriano’s woes began on 08 October 2013, when he issued a letter advising all bus, van and passenger jeep operators and drivers to vacate their terminals and proceed to the areas outside of Poblacion, Tuguegarao. Soriano claimed that the order was made on the strength of Ordinance No. 02-97, which gave the city government the authority to designate parking areas. On 20 December 2013, Soriano issued a provisional permit to operate in favor of One Way Parking Terminal, Inc. (OWPTI). On the same date, Soriano indorsed to the Sanggunian the application of OWPTI for its operation of a transport terminal.
In its Decision finding Soriano administratively liable, the Ombudsman stated that the Mayor “committed a corrupt act when he gave unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to OWPTI through manifest partiality by issuing the provisional permit without prior ordinance and authorization from the Sanggunian.” The Ombudsman further explained that “OWPTI was allowed immediately to operate the terminal even without going through the proper process of seeking legislative franchise from the Sanggunian.”
According to Ombudsman Morales, “Soriano abused his authority and flagrantly disregarded established rule since he put the cart before the horse by issuing the permit without authorization by the Sanggunian.”
Ombudsman Morales directed the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to immediately implement the dismissal order.