Thursday, February 18, 2016

Group calls on Malacanang to implement dismissal order on NPO officials

The militant group Partido Manggagawa (PM) called on Malacanang to implement the dismissal order by the Ombudsman on six officials of the National Printing Office (NPO) who are currently overseeing the printing of ballots for the coming elections. Recently the Ombudsman released a decision dated September 15, 2015, denying the motion for reconsideration (MR) of the axed NPO officers.

“With the junking of the MR, there is no more alibi for Malacanang to refuse to execute the dismissal order. The six NPO officers must be dismissed immediately, in fact they should have been removed yesterday. Instead these corrupt officials are now administering the ballot printing thus casting doubt on the credibility of the elections,” argued Wilson Fortaleza, spokesperson of PM which is running in the elections as a partylist group.

In a decision dated July 24, 2015 and signed by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer II Jose Ronald Bersales and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, the court found the officials “guilty of grave misconduct” in connection with the anomalous printing of travel clearance certificates of the National Bureau of Investigation worth P1.9 million on Nov. 18, 2010.

Dismissed in the order were Emmanuel Andaya, NPO director; Sylvia Banda, chief administrative officer; Josefina Samson, printing operations chief; Antonio Sillona, printing operations chief; Bernadette Lagumen, supervising administrative officer; and Ma. Gracia Enriquez, printing operations assistant chief. 

NPO employees led by Mario Adarlo, former head of the labor union, started the call for the axing of the NPO officials. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo also supported the demand for the dismissal of the NPO officials to ensure clean and honest elections. There is also a petition calling for the implementation of the dismissal order.

“We ask Malacanang: Daang matuwid or double standard? When political enemies are involved, Ombudsman decisions are immediately implemented by the administration. But when favored officials are implicated, dismissal orders are ignored despite black-and-white rules that say decisions are immediately executory despite the pendency of MR’s,” Fortaleza explained.

He added “Is there something being cooked at the NPO that corrupt and dismissed officials now oversee the much-delayed ballot printing and remain in their posts under the protection of Malacanang?”

“It is high time to appoint new NPO officials with clean records of public service. Further, the mandate of the NPO must be respected instead of its work outsourced to private printing contractors,” Fortaleza ended.

February 18, 2016