By Benjamin Pulta
MANILA – The Court of Appeals (CA) has turned down the administrative complaint filed by Leyte 4th District Rep. Richard Gomez against police officers who implicated him in the illegal drug trade of the Espinosa family in Albuera town.
In a 12-page decision shared on Monday, the CA 13th Division upheld the June 28, 2019 decision of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) en banc, which dismissed the administrative cases for grave misconduct, dishonesty, and conduct unbecoming of a police officer that Gomez filed against Jovie Espenido and Leo Laraga, who both held the rank of Chief Inspector at the time; and then-Police Officer 3 Hydie Yutrago.
In rejecting the complaint of the former actor-national athlete, the CA said “in administrative cases, appeals are extended to the party adversely affected by the decision, which refers to the government employee against whom the administrative case is filed for the purpose of disciplinary action, or the disciplining authority whose decision is in question.”
“The fact that the petitioner is the then Mayor of Ormoc City is of no moment. It is established that in administrative cases, a complainant is a mere witness. No private interest is involved in an administrative case as the offense committed is against the government,” the CA said.
“In fact, the Supreme Court has held that a private complainant in an administrative case has no right to appeal the decision of the disciplining authority,” it added.
In Gomez’s case, it was the Inspection, Monitoring and Investigation Service (IMIS) of Napolcom that found probable cause to file a formal charge against the police officers.
The IMIS conducts continuous inspection and management audit of personnel, facilities and operations at all levels of command of the Philippine National Police, as well as Napolcom’s regional and field Offices; monitors the implementation of the agency’s programs and projects relative to law enforcement; and monitors and investigates police anomalies and irregularities.
“Considering that the petitioner has no legal interest or standing to appeal and seek the nullification of the assailed decision and resolution exonerating the individual respondents from the administrative charge of grave misconduct, dishonesty and conduct unbecoming of a police officer, we thus find no need to delve on the merits of this case,” the CA said. (PNA)