Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Petra C. Martinez, In her capacity as General Manager of Claveria Agri-based Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc. vs. Filomena L. villanueva/Office of the Ombudsman vs. Filomena L. Villanueva, G.R. No. 169196/G.R. No. 169198, July 6, 2011.

Public officials; prohibited positions. Respondent in this case was charged with violation of Section 7(d) of Republic Act 6713 for solicitation or acceptance of gifts by reason of public office. The CA found that RA 6713 was repealed by RA 6938; thus, respondent was not liable. The SC found the contrary. There was no repeal. The ban on Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) officials holding a position in a cooperative provided in RA 6938 should be taken as a prohibition in addition to those provided in RA 6713 and specifically applicable to CDA officials and employees. True, RA 6938 allows CDA officials and employees to become members of cooperatives and enjoy the privileges and benefits attendant to membership. However, RA 6938 should not be taken as creating in favor of CDA officials and employees an exemption from the coverage of Section 7(d), RA 6713 considering that the benefits and privileges attendant to membership in a cooperative are not confined solely to availing of loans and not all cooperatives are established for the sole purpose of providing credit facilities to their members. 

Public officials; misconduct. The prohibition in Section 7(d) of RA 6713 is malum prohibitum. It is the commission of that act as defined by the law, and not the character or effect thereof, that determines whether or not the provision has been violated. Therefore, it is immaterial whether respondent has fully paid her loans since the law prohibits the mere act of soliciting a loan under the circumstances provided in Section 7(d) of RA 6713. Neither is undue influence on respondent’s part required to be proven as held by the CA. Whether respondent used her position or authority as a CDA official is of no consequence in the determination of her administrative liability. And considering that respondent admitted having taken two loans from CABMPCI, which is a cooperative whose operations are directly regulated by respondent’s office, respondent was correctly meted the penalty of suspension by the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon for violation of Section 7(d). Petra C. Martinez, In her capacity as General Manager of Claveria Agri-based Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc. vs. Filomena L. villanueva/Office of the Ombudsman vs. Filomena L. Villanueva, G.R. No. 169196/G.R. No. 169198, July 6, 2011.

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