Three officials of the divided Paritido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan or PDP-Laban party are facing an administrative complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman over the gathering of party members and officials in Cebu City last May 31, 2021.
Private complainant Victor Morillo filed the administrative complaint versus Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon and Cagayan Economic Zone Authority Administrator Raul Lambino, National Transmission Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Melvin Matibag and Commission on Filipinos Overseas Executive Director Astravel Pimentel-Naik for their supposed violation of the Administrative Code of 1987.
Morillio said in the complaint that the three officials violated Sec. 55 of the code which prohibits officers and employees in the civil service from engaging directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity.
“During the PDP-Laban National Council meeting, the three respondents certainly made speeches, announcements for the purpose of undertaking the election of President Rodrigo Duterte as Vice President for the 2022, national elections,” Morillo said.
Morillo noted in the complaint that Lambino was the moderator during the meeting and he moved to adopt a resolution to convince party chairman President Rodrigo Duterte to run for the vice presidency.
Matibag also stated in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel that President Duterte should not be prevented from running for the vice presidency while Naik stated during the meeting that the party has “become a successful party, especially with the victory of President Duterte.”
“All of these utterances are within the prohibition on political commentaries, speeches, announcements and interviews by non-exempted members of the civil service,” Morillo said.
Morillo said that the high-ranking PDP-Laban official present during the meeting, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi who serves as party vice chairman, cannot be held liable based on a Supreme Court decision.
“Santos vs Yatco, inexempt po ang Secretary of National Defense noon dahil siya ay parte ng gabinete,” Morillo said.
Asked if he is related in any way to the camp of PDP-Laban acting president Senator Manny Pacquiao who publicly criticized Cusi for leading the gathering, Morillo said he filed the complaint on his own personal capacity.
“Ako po ay matagal ng involved sa mga political activities, at civic activities, malapit na po ang eleksyon, ayaw natin magamit ang buong makinarya ng gobyerno sa partisan politics at maging mas patas,” Morillo said.
Morillo also asked the Ombudsman to issue orders of preventive suspension, dismissal from service and cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits of the three officials.