Tuesday 14 August, 2018
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CA downgrades penalty against police comptroller in rubber boat scam

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has downgraded the penalty against a Philippine National Police (PNP) official in connection with the purchase of defective rubber boats following the onslaught of typhoons Ondoy and Peping.

In a recent 14-page decision, the CA 2nd Division reduced the penalty of Police Superintendent Henry Duque to just a six-month suspension for the lesser offense of simple misconduct.

This modified the Ombudsman’s June 2, 2015 resolution finding Duque guilty of grave misconduct and dismissing him from public service.

As former officer-in-charge of the PNP Directorate for Comptrollership, Duque was accused of signing an inspection report form that attested to the quality of 16 defective police coastal crafts (PCCs) worth P4.8 million in 2010.

The report was initially undated, but when it was later submitted again, it reflected the date March 22, 2010—casting suspicion on the document.

But, the CA said Duque’s offense was not severe enough to warrant his dismissal because he was merely relying on the prior certifications and recommendations of his subordinates who were supposed to have inspected the rubber boats.

The court said there was no evidence to show that he signed the inspection report “for personal or selfish ends.”

On the other hand, Duque should still be suspended for the lesser offense of simple misconduct because he did not exercise due diligence when he failed to inspect the rubber boats himself.

“Verily, a high degree of diligence is required of petitioner in the effective discharge of his duties, thus, he is still not free from any liability,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Zenaida Galapate-Laguilles.

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