December 9, 2022

The Civil Service Commission has affirmed its decision to dismiss the zoning administrator of La Trinidad, Benguet for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

In its decision dated Nov. 24, the CSC upheld its earlier decision suspending Zoning Administrator Emerson Tabernero for one-year with accessory penalty of disqualification from promotion corresponding to the period of suspension.

Tabernero is also found guilty of grave misconduct and is penalized for dismissal from the service.

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Benguet Board Member Nestor Fongwan Jr. in 2018 alleging that Tabernero committed irregularities and unlawful acts in the performance of his duties as a zoning officer.

The complaint was corroborated by witnesses including Rogelio Bugtong and also Fongwan, who were both clients of Tabarnero.

The decision said Tabernero’s referral of Bugtong to a certain engineer to accomplish requirements and receiving money on behalf of the referred engineer constitutes conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. 

“His act fell short of the standard of personal conduct required by the Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Code Officials and Employees (Republic Act 6713) that public officials shall endeavor to discourage wrong perceptions of their roles as dispensers or peddlers of undue patronage. Verily, a public official or employee should avoid any appearance of impropriety which may affect the integrity of government services,” the CSC decision reads.  

The decision also stated that Tabernero was charged with grave misconduct as the acts he committed were directly connected to his duties as zoning administrator.

The CSC said Tabernero willfully disregarded existing laws such as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

In his appeal, Tabernero denied the allegations.

The dismissal comes with the accessory penalties of cancellation of eligibility, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, ban from taking Civil Service examinations, forfeiture of retirement benefits, except terminal leave benefits and personal contributions to the Government Service Insurance System, if any.

“Finally, it must be stated that when an officer or employee is disciplined, the object sought is not punishment of that officer or employee, but the improvement of the public service and the preservation of the public’s faith and confidence in the government,” the decision stated. – Ofelia C. Empian