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Court of Appeals Dismisses Case Vs. BSP Officials; Sets Aside Suspension

09.25.2003

The Court of Appeals has dismissed an administrative complaint filed against BSP officials by former Urban Bank President Teodoro Borlongan. The CA reversed an earlier decision of the Ombudsman suspending four BSP officials for “simple neglect in the closure of Urban Bank,” thereby upholding the appeal of BSP officials to set aside the suspension.

The Ombudsman previously ruled that BSP Deputy Governor Alberto V. Reyes, Managing Director Dolores Yuvienco, Director Candon Guerrero and retired Director Tomas Aure should be suspended for one month and one day.

The CA pronounced: “ At a time when indecision and hesitation have become the order of the day in our society and government, the decisiveness shown by the petitioners in this case shows that our people have not yet lost the political will to enforce the law and protect the public interest beyond personal ties or convenience. Many more acts of silent heroism among our civil servants might be needed before we can finally rise above Gunmar Myrdal’s lasting criticism of the soft state.”

The CA declared that “ Urban Bank’s Borlongan has taken extraordinary effort to expose, malign and destroy the SES reports. His tirades fail to convince us…”

The CA said: “ The standard definition of simple neglect of duty, as a disregard of a duty resulting form carelessness or indifference, has been adopted by the Supreme Court in Philippine Retirement Authority vs. Rupa 363 SCRA 480 and counterposed to gross neglect of duty which denotes a gross neglect of duty and culpable refusal or unwillingness to perform a duty. But neither gross or simple neglect or avoidance of duty characterizes the acts of the petitioners. What we see instead is a prompt and decisive action by our public officials commensurate with the gravity or seriousness of the situation that started to form in the afternoon of April 25. The SES ( BSP’s Supervision and Examination Sector) reports were anything but haphazardly or negligently made. They were a compendium of long years of monitoring by the BSP of a problem bank, and assembled over a period of 15 hours after the petitioners were instructed to do so. The data contained therein had been patiently collected and analyzed by people who knew their job. They support conclusions that we find to be still reasonable after the dust of this debate has settled.”

The CA ruled that “ In view of the foregoing, the Orders of the Ombudsman dated July 2 and 30, 2002, are REVERSED AND SET ASIDE insofar as the petitioners are concerned, and a new decision is entered DISMISSING the administrative complaint against them.”

The decision, issued by the Seventeenth Division of the Court of Appeals, was penned by Associate Justice Mario Guarina III and concurred in by Associate Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr. and Associate Justice Jose C. Reyes, Jr.

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