The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - The deputy ombudsman who was fired by President Benigno Aquino III last year for allegedly extorting money from Luneta bus hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza was ordered reinstated by the Supreme Court.
In its decision penned by Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, the high tribunal found no basis in the allegation that deputy ombudsman Emilio Gonzales III committed betrayal of public trust.
In its case against the deputy ombudsman, the Office of the President (OP) claimed that there was an "inordinate and unjustified delay" in Gonzales' action on Mendoza's appeal to have him reinstated, which apparently led the former police officer to stage the bloody hostage-taking in Luneta in August 2010.
The OP filed administrative charges of gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct against Gonzales, which were tantamount to betrayal of public trust.
Before Mendoza died with the Hong Kong tourists he held hostage in Luneta, the disgruntled former police senior inspector complained to his lawyer, Ernesto Cabrera, that Gonzales attempted to extort P250,000 from him in exchange for the dismissal of Mendoza's case at the Office of the Ombudsman.
However, finding no evidence to the allegations, the high court, in the same ruling, ordered the OP case against Gonzales "reversed and set aside."
It also ordered the government to pay Gonzales his back wages "corresponding to the period of suspension effective immediately even as the Office of the Ombudsman is directed to proceedwith the inJestigation in connection with the above case against petitioner."
Eight justices including Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno concurred with the ruling reinstating Gonzales. Six dissented including justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Lucas Bersamin, and Roberto Abad.