[ G.R. No. 207735, November 10, 2020 ]




This is the latest chapter in what has become a protracted legal saga involving a "vehicle repair scam" in the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), wherein certain employees and officials connived with private parties in obtaining reimbursements for fictitious emergency repairs conducted on DPWH-owned automobiles. Numerous DPWH officials and employees were implicated, resulting in multiple prosecutions and convictions,1 some of which have reached this Court.2 The process flow for the reimbursement of emergency vehicle repairs, as found by the Ombudsman in the course of its investigation, is as follows:

1. The end-user will request for repair.

2. The vehicle will be presented to the motorpool.

3. The Central Equipment and Spare Parts (CESP), Bureau of Equipment (BOE) will conduct an initial inspection.

4. The Special Inspectorate Team (SIT) will conduct the pre-inspection and prepare/approve the pre-inspection report.

5. The Procurement Section, the Administrative and Manpower Management Service (AMMS), will prepare the Requisition for Supplies/Equipment, canvass, quotation of three (3) suppliers, certificate of fair wear and tear and the certificate of emergency purchase.

6. The end-user will sign the Requisition for Supplies/Equipment, certificate of emergency purchase.

7. The Bureau of Equipment will recommend the approval of the Requisition for Supplies/Equipment

8. The AMMS will approve the Requisition for Supplies/Equipment;

9. The end-user will select the repair shop and/or any of the accredited auto supply.

10. The SIT will conduct a post-repair inspection, approve the report and prepare a report of waste materials.

11. The Assets & Supply Management Control Division will conduct price monitoring and prepare the price monitoring slip, then recommend the payment.

12. The Central Equipment and Spare Parts Division (CESPD) will prepare the Disbursement Voucher (DV) and certify that the expenses are necessary, lawful and incurred under their direct supervision.

13. The BOE will approve the DV.

14. The Claims, Processing and Documentation Section (CPDS) of the Accounting Division will review, initial and certify the DV as to the completeness of supporting documents and its validity in accordance with the accounting and auditing rules and regulations.

15. The Accounting Division will recommend the DV for funding.

16. The Cashier's Division will prepare the check.

17. The Director, CFMS, will sign the check.

18. The Director and the AMMS will countersign the check.

19. The Cashier's Division will release the check to the claimants.3

The alleged abuses in this procurement and reimbursement process were uncovered sometime between 2001 and 2002;4 and resulted in the filing of criminal and administrative charges against several DPWH employees and private parties who purportedly provided the automotive repair services.5 As regards the involvement of herein respondents, the Court of Appeals (CA) aptly summarizes the facts:

Sometime in 2002, a criminal complaint was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against personnel from different divisions of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Central Office alleging that through deceptive machinations and fraudulent representations, 521 DPWH vehicles underwent emergency repairs from the period March 2001 to December 2001, when in fact such repairs were either fictitious or non-existent thereby causing the government to be allegedly cheated in an amount equivalent to One Hundred Thirty Nine Million Pesos (P139,000,000.00). This case was docketed as Criminal Case No. OMB-C-C-02-0507 and was entitled Irene D. Ofilada v. Mir, et al. Probable cause was found resulting in the indictment of majority of the respondents therein for plunder.

Thereafter, in a Supplemental Resolution dated 1 March 2004, Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo ordered the conduct of further proceedings against other persons who appeared responsible for allegedly diverting funds to their own private interest

In line with such directive, an Administrative Complaint dated 14 March 2008 was filed by the Field Investigation Office of the Office of the Ombudsman, (FIO-OMB) against several DPWH Central Office personnel including herein [respondents] Lucia S. Rondon, Ronaldo G. Simbahan and Rolando Cabangon x x x with the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman). The case was docketed as OMB-C-A-08-0657-L and entitled Field Investigation Office, Office of the Ombudsman v. Comado Valdez et al.

The complaint essentially alleges that from January 2001 to December 2001, twenty-seven (27) service vehicles of the DPWH figured in 192 anomalous repair transactions with a certain Comado S. Valdez (Valdez), Clerk III at the Project Management Office - Metropolitan Flood Control (PMO-­MFCP) of the DPWH as the payee. Valdez was alleged to have repeatedly requested and signed job orders for the emergency repair of 27 DPWH service vehicles despite not being authorized to do so under existing guidelines. Anomalous claims for reimbursement were then thereafter made by Valdez for the amount he advanced for the emergency repairs of the 27 service vehicles. Allegedly conniving with the other respondents named in the complaint, including herein [respondents] Rondon, Simbahan and Cabangon, it was alleged that Valdez' acts caused the issuance of checks which the respondents in the complaint then converted, misappropriated and misapplied for their own personal benefit thereby causing undue injury to the Government.

The complaint alleged that the claims for reimbursement made for the 192 repair transactions were anomalous for the following reasons: i) Job Order Requests were prepared by Valdez rather than by the end-user named in the Memorandum Receipt for such vehicles; ii) the annual salary of Valdez (amounting to P92,272.00) was insufficient to cover the total amount supposedly advanced for said repairs (amounting to P4,337,862.00); iii) it is claimed that Valdez did not actually need to make advance payments for the repairs as the vehicles were neither issued to him nor to the department where he was assigned; iv) the number of repairs for each vehicle, as well as the amount involved, were dose to exceeding, if not exceeding, the cost of purchasing a new vehicle; v) minor repairs were recommended instead of major repairs, with the scheme of splitting a major repair into several minor repairs clearly intended to circumvent existing guidelines in the repair of vehicles; vi) checks were issued in the name of Valdez rather than in the name of the supplier.

With respect to the other respondents in the complaint, it was alleged that they participated in a scheme whereby vital documents such as Job Orders, Pre­ and Post-Inspection Reports, Requisitions for Supplies and Equipment, Certificate of Emergency Purchase, Certificate of Acceptance and other pertinent papers were repeatedly falsified, feigned or simulated which resulted in fraudulent claims, fictitious repairs and anomalous reimbursements involving several vehicles.

As regards [respondents], who are all part of the DPWH Central Office Accounting Division, the P10-0MB asserts that they initialed, countersigned and indexed various supporting documents necessary for the procurement of emergency repairs and purchase of spare parts of service vehicles and equipments. Specifically, the following acts were attributed to [them]:

(a) Rondon, as Accountant IV, initialed one hundred ninety-two (192) Disbursement Vouchers (DV);

(b) Simbahan, as Senior Bookkeeper, countersigned fifty-three (53) Notices of Cash Allocation; and

(c) Cabangon, as Computer Operator I, indexed forty-six (46) DVs.6

In a decision dated April 15, 2011,7 the Office of the Ombudsman found substantial evidence to support its Field Investigation Office's claim that DPWH officials and employees were running a vehicle repair scam. Of the alleged 192 fictitious repairs covering 27 vehicles, only 118 repairs involving 13 vehicles were substantiated with documentary evidence.8 Even then, these evidentiary documents were patently defective. The Ombudsman found the following badges of fraud: (1) the emergency repair requests were filed by the same person who was not the end-user of the vehicles sought to be repaired;9 (2) the vehicles were not presented to the motor pool, as required by DPWH regulations;10 (3) the suspicious time intervals between repairs, with some vehicles being repaired twice on the same day, and other vehicles being repaired 15 times in the span of one year, indicating an intent to split job orders so that they do not exceed the ₱25,000.00 limit set by Commission on Audit and DPWH regulations;11 (4) in view of the fact that emergency repairs must be shouldered initially by the requesting party, the person who requested the emergency repairs did not have, considering his salary, sufficient means to advance the amounts needed for such repairs;12 (5) under DPWH regulations, given the total cost of the repairs, the SIT should have recommended the purchase of new vehicles instead of "fixing" the subject vehicles;13 (6) most of the documents, particularly the job orders, pre-­inspection reports, and post-inspection reports were undated and unnumbered;14 (7) the automotive repair shops who were in cahoots with the DPWH officers issued undated official receipts or cash invoices but nevertheless received the corresponding checks issued to the "end-user" who requested the repairs;15 (8) two official receipts issued by an automotive repair shop issued in the name of one DPWH employee named Danilo Planta had corresponding checks issued in the name of another DPWH employee named Conrado Valdez;16 and (9) three of the 13 vehicles were non-existent.17 As for herein respondents, they were found guilty of gross neglect of duty and penalized with dismissal from the service. The anti­-graft office explained that

[t]he following respondents, whose duties are ministerial, have committed Gross Neglect of Duty and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. To a certain degree, ministerial duties should not be allowed to be used as a shield to protect abuses in government transactions and diminish the constitutional canon that public office is a public trust, which requires that all public officials and employees should, at all times, embody the values of integrity and discipline. Verily, while a ministerial duty neither requires the exercise of official discretion and judgment, the concerned public official or employee should not turn a deaf ear and blind eye in the face of blatant corruption, as in this case. In so doing, this public official or employee becomes part of the grand scheme to prejudice the government. They are:

x x x x

The repetitive nature of the transactions should have alerted the following respondents: TOLENTINO, AMAR, CABANGON, and CABACUNGAN who journalized 71 DVs, 79 DVs, 40 DVs, 27 DVs, respectively; RONDON who initialed 41 DVs and SIMBAHAN who inquired into the availability of funds and thereafter signed 64 NCAs. They were indispensable in the preparation and issuance of the DVs and checks.18

Respondents were among those who filed motions for reconsideration from the aforesaid decision, which were all denied by the Ombudsman in an Order19 dated October 18, 2011. Aggrieved, respondents appealed20 to the CA, which rendered the present assailed decision21 and resolution22 downgrading their offense to simple neglect of duty and reducing their penalty to three months' suspension without pay.

The appellate court explained that the nature of respondents' jobs does not require to them to look beyond what is written on the face of the DVs and NCAs they process. As an accountant (Rondon), a bookkeeper (Simbahan), and a computer operator (Cabangon) in the Accounting Division, their participation in the emergency repair disbursement process only comes after the approval of the DV. Their function "is to recommend the funding of the DVs on the basis of the validity of the documents supporting the reimbursement claims."23 Thus, their duty vis-a-vis examination of supporting documents is limited to determining if these are regular on their face.24 Consequently, respondents cannot be held responsible for failing to discover the badges of fraud found by the Ombudsman. The appellate court reiterated that respondents only deal with the finding of the DVs after these have been approved by the other divisions of the DPWH, i.e., they only come in at the 14th step of the disbursement process (see above), after the DVs have been approved by the Bureau of Equipment. Prior to that, DVs can only be issued after the preparation of Pre-Inspection Report and Post-Inspection Report by the SIT and subject to price monitoring and payment recommendation by the Assets & Supply Management Control Division. Only then will the Central Equipment and Spare Parts Division (CESPD) will prepare the DVs and certify that the expenses are necessary, lawful and incurred under their direct supervision. Stated in simpler terms, the respondents, who worked for the Accounting Division, had a right to rely on the documents attached to the DVs, which were generated by the foregoing departments who are primarily tasked with ascertaining the propriety of the vehicle repair disbursement requests.

Dissatisfied with the CA's downgrading of the sanctions against respondents, the FIO-OMB lodged the present petition for review.

In the recent case of Andaya v. Field Investigation Office of the Office of the Ombudsman, this Court had occasion to define gross neglect of duty as an administrative offense, and to distinguish it with the lesser offense of simple neglect of duty, viz.:

Gross Neglect of Duty is defined as "[n]egligence characterized by want of even slight care, or by acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally, with a conscious indifference to the consequences, insofar as other persons may be affected. It is the omission of that care that even inattentive and thoughtless men never fail to give to their own property." In contrast, Simple Neglect of Duty is the failure of an employee or official to give proper attention to a task expected of trim or her, signifying a "disregard of a duty resulting from carelessness or indifference."25 (Citations omitted)

The complaint filed by the FIO-OMB charges respondents with gross neglect of duty for failing to discern the badges of fraud in the transactions evidenced by the DVs that they processed. According to the CA, these badges of fraud were undiscoverable either from the face of the documents as presented to respondents or by virtue of respondents' positions within the DPWH organization and the disbursement process. Thus, they can only be made accountable for not noticing something that was patent on the face of the documents they were processing: the lack of dates and serial numbers.

This Court is of the considered opinion that the CA correctly found respondents guilty of simple neglect of duty. The CA did not err in holding that badges of fraud were undiscoverable either from the face of the documents as presented to respondents or by virtue of their positions within the DPWH organization and the disbursement process. It must be remembered that the participation of respondents in the disbursement process sets in only after the emergency repair request has passed through the following steps:

  • Presentation of the vehicle to the motorpool.
  • Initial inspection by the Central Equipment and Spare Parts (CESP), Bureau of Equipment (BOE).
  • Pre-inspection by the Special Inspectorate Team (SIT) and preparation/approval of the pre-inspection report.
  • Preparation of the Requisition for Supplies/Equipment, canvass, quotation of three (3) suppliers, certificate of fair wear and tear and the certificate of emergency purchase by the Procurement Section of the Administrative and Manpower Management Service (AMMS).
  • Signature by the end-user of the Requisition for Supplies/Equipment and Certificate of Emergency Purchase.
  • Recommendation of approval of the Requisition for Supplies/Equipment by the Bureau of Equipment.
  • Approval of the Requisition for Supplies/Equipment by the AMMS.
  • Selection of the repair shop and/or accredited auto supply by the end-user.
  • Post-repair inspection and report plus preparation of waste materials report by the SIT.
  • Price monitoring and recommendation of payment by the Assets & Supply Management Control Division.
  • Preparation of the Disbursement Voucher (DV) by the Central Equipment and Spare Parts Division (CESPD), including a certification that the expenses are necessary, lawful and incurred under their direct supervision.
  • Approval of the DV by the BOE.
  • As correctly pointed out by the CA, these inspection phases of the process are conducted by duly qualified employees of the DPWH with technical expertise in the determination of the necessity, pricing, and quality of emergency vehicle repair work. Particularly, the SIT, which conducts the pre-repair and post-repair inspections and prepares the reports therefor, is composed of licensed mechanical engineers.26 Thus, the documents generated during these inspection phases, having been prepared by employees with technical expertise in the pertinent field, were entitled to a presumption of regularity. Even the Office of the Ombudsman itself admits that respondents' duties in relation to the disbursement process were ministerial in nature.27 Furthermore, as found by the CA, the badges of fraud found by the Ombudsman were not discoverable on the face of the documents, but discoverable during the aforestated inspection phases. Thus, respondents cannot be held liable for failing to find badges of fraud in the transactions embodied by the DVs they processed, not only because they had the right to rely on the expertise and experience of the SIT and the other requisition inspection sections of the DPWH, but also because the DVs are presented to them with a certification by the CESPD that the expenses covered thereby are necessary, lawful and incurred under their direct supervision. On this point, We approvingly quote the findings of the CA:

    The Ombudsman held that the documents supporting the reimbursement claims were full of apparent irregularities which indicate that the reimbursements being sought on the repairs of the DPWH vehicles, were fraudulent. However, after an examination of the case, WE find that although there are indeed irregularities in the supporting documents, most of them are nevertheless not apparent.

    First among these alleged patent irregularities is the fact that the person who requested the repairs is not the end-user of the vehicle when the same is required to be specified in the Memorandum Receipt which according to the Ombudsman was attached to the Pre-inspection Report as purportedly required under DPWH Department Order No. 33, series of 1988 (D.O. 33) and the Memorandum of DPWH Secretary Gregorio R. Vigilar dated 31 July 1997 (DPWH Memorandum). The Pre-inspection Report, in turn, is one of the documents submitted to the Accounting Division to support the reimbursement claim.

    However, a careful perusal of D.O. 33 and the DPWH Memorandum reveals that there is no express statement therein requiring that the Memorandum Receipt be attached to the Pre-inspection report. In fact, the only reference to the Memorandum Receipt with respect to the Pre-inspection Report is that found in Section C.6 of the DPWH Memorandum, viz.:


    x x x x

    6. No request for pre-repair inspection shall be processed unless the service vehicle concerned has been properly recorded with the Bureau of Equipment with corresponding HI property numbers with the LTO Registration under DPWH ownership, and with updated Memorandum Receipt (MR).

    Based on the foregoing provision, it can be seen that the Memorandum Receipt is only a requirement for the processing of the request for pre-inspection. There was no mention that it forms part and is attached to the Pre-inspection Report. Furthermore, assuming the Memorandum Receipt was attached to the Pre-inspection Report, Section D of the DPWH Memorandum specified the documents to be examined by the Accounting Division in processing the funding of payment for emergency repairs and the Memorandum Receipt is not one of them, viz.:

    D. Funding Requirements

    1. Documentation - No claim for payment for the emergency minor/major repair of vehicles of this Department shall be processed by the Accounting Division, CFMS without strictly following [sic] provisions of COA Circular No. 92-389 dated November 03, 1997. The following documentary requirements shall be complied with prior to funding and/or processing of payment, to wit:

    1.1 Request for Obligation of Allotment (ROA) for said claim which shall be signed by the concerned Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary, Bureau Directors, Project Director/Manager, Service Chief, or the duly designated representative of the office of the end-user;

    1.2 Certification of Emergency Purchase/Repair which shall be signed by the end-user, duly approved by the Head of Office concerned (with the rank higher than Division Chief).

    1.3 Abstract of Open Canvass and corresponding written quotations for the purchase of spare parts and repair vehicles duly signed by the Supply Officer, Canvasser, and supplier concerned.

    1.4 The Requisition for Supplies or Equipment (RSE) shall be prepared and signed by the end-user, recommended for approval and duly approved by the official concerned, in accordance with the existing delegation of authorities;

    1.5 The Motor Vehicle Pre-repair/Post-repair Inspection Report which shall indicate the Control Series No. and the date of inspection, duly signed by all members of the Special Inspectorate Team (SIT);

    1.6 The Certificate of Acceptance which shall be signed by the end-user of said vehicle. All documents, under accounting and auditing rules and regulations, shall be signed by the official and/or supplier concerned over their respective printed names.

    Hence, assuming arguendo that the Memorandum Receipt was attached to the Pre-Inspection Report, [respondents] cannot still be faulted in failing to discover that the person requesting the repairs was not the end-user as they were not obliged to examine the Memorandum Receipt since that function is given to the body tasked with pre-inspection which in this case is the Special Inspectorate Team since it was them who issue the pre-inspection report. As it is not their function to inspect the Memorandum Receipt, [respondents] have the right to rely on what is written in the pre-inspection report and limit their inspection to the same.

    For the same reason, [respondents] could have not known also that Valdez' annual salary (P92,272.00) was not enough to answer for to total cost of repairs (P4,337,862.00) which was allegedly advanced by him; and that there was a violation of Section C.8 of the DPWH Memorandum as the cost of the repetitive repairs made on the vehicles is already almost equivalent to the current market value thereof The annual salary of the end-user, the current fair market value of the repaired vehicles and the total cost of the repairs made on each of the same are not part of the supporting documents enumerated under Section D of the DPWH Memorandum which are required to be examined by [respondents] in processing the funding of the disbursement voucher. Nor can it be said that it is their function to determine the same given that the Accounting Division only deals with the disbursement voucher and its supporting documents. As such, [respondents] could have not possibly discovered the aforementioned irregularities.28 (Citations omitted)

    In Macadangdang v. Sandiganbayan,29 a similar vehicle repair scam was discovered in the La Union branch of the Bureau of Posts. The officials and employees involved were prosecuted for estafa through falsification. The Sandiganbayan found the regional director, the budget officer, the accountant, the motorpool dispatcher, and the auditing examiner/property inspector guilty. On appeal by the budget officer, this Court reversed his conviction, viz.:

    The records show that the only participation of the budget officer in the alleged conspiracy was to obligate and allot funds. His job was to certify to the availability of funds and to segregate those funds in the books once allotted. It was not his job to directly attend to the inspection of vehicles, the ascertainment of whether or not repairs were needed, the bidding and awards to repair shops, and the determination of whether or not the repairs were effected pursuant to specifications in the contracts. More particularly, he had nothing to do with the abstract of bids which were falsified to make it appear that the accused private persons participated in the bidding when in truth, they did not do so.

    Simply because a person in a chain of processing officers happens to sign or initial a voucher as it is going the rounds, it does not necessarily follow that he becomes part of a conspiracy in an illegal scheme. x x x30 (Citations omitted)

    Contrary to the assertion of the FIO-OMB, the Arias31 doctrine cannot be applied here, since there is no proof that respondents, who were in the Accounting Division, were superior officers vis-a-vis the SIT and the other vehicle repair inspectors of the DPWH. At any rate, respondents' right to rely on the documents attached to the DVs lay in the nature of respondents' functions within the DPWH and the technical nature of said documents; and not upon the existence of a superior-subordinate relation between them and the DPWH inspection organs.

    In line with the foregoing disquisitions, respondents can only be held responsible for failing in their duty to scrutinize the DVs and supporting documents thereof in the state that these documents were presented to them, to determine if they were regular on their face. The Ombudsman were able to establish that respondents processed several DVs with undated and unnumbered job orders, pre-inspection reports and post-inspection reports. Book VI, Section 40 of the Administrative Code provides:

    Section 40. Certification of Availability of Funds. No funds shall be disbursed, and no expenditures or obligations chargeable against any authorized allotment shall be incurred or authorized in any department, office or agency without first securing the certification of its Chief Accountant or head of accounting unit as to the availability of funds and the allotment to which the expenditure or obligation may be properly charged.

    No obligation shall be certified to accounts payable unless the obligation is founded on a valid claim that is properly supported by sufficient evidence and unless there is proper authority for its incurrence. Any certification for a non­existent or fictitious obligation and/or creditor shall be considered void. The certifying official shall be dismissed from the service, without prejudice to criminal prosecution under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code. Any payment made under such certification shall be illegal and every official authorizing or making such payment, or taking part therein or receiving such payment, shall be jointly and severally liable to the government for the full amount so paid or received.

    Respondents, who were part of the Accounting Division, have two essential tasks in the emergency repair disbursement process: 1) ensuring that the DVs and the supporting documents thereof are regular on their face; and 2) recommending the DVs for funding. Respondents Rondon and Cabangon initialed 41 and 40 DVs, respectively; while respondent Simbahan inquired into the availability of funds for 64 notices of cash allocation (NCA) and signed such notices despite the fact that some of these DVs and NCAs were supported by undated and unnumbered job orders and inspection reports. They are obviously guilty of being negligent in the performance of their duty. However, the Ombudsman failed to prove by substantial evidence that respondents were either consciously and intentionally approving such irregularly supported DVs or being grossly negligent in doing so. As the appellate court pointed out, the respondents' lapses can only be attributed to their carelessness and indifference in the discharge of their duties. As such, the CA did not err in finding respondents guilty of simple neglect of duty.

    WHEREFORE, the present petition is DENIED. The February 19, 2013 decision and June 11, 2013 resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 123018 are AFFIRMED.


    Peralta, C. J., Caguioa, Carandang, and Zalameda, JJ., concur.


    1 Office of the Ombudsmen Press Release, Ombudsman wins 2 more cases vs. DPWH officials over P7.8M vehicle repair scam. January 3, 2017, Accessed 10 August 2020. People v. Planta et al., Crim. Case Nos. 28098 & 28251, November 17, 2016 (Sandiganbayan), .ph/DECISIONS/2016/K_Crim_28098%20&%2028251_Planta_11_17_2016.pdf. Accessed 10 August 2020; People v. Umali et al., Crim. Case Nos. 28352 & 28099, November 17, 2016 (Sandiganbayan), .pdf. Accessed 10 August 2020; People v. Martinez et al., Case Nos. 28100 & 28253, November 10, 2016 (Sandiganbayan),,%20et%20al_11 _10_2016.pdf. Accessed 10 August 2020.

    2 See Civil Service Commission v. Beray, G.R. Nos. 191946 & 191974, December 10, 2019; Arias v. People, G.R. Nos. 237106-07, June 10, 2019; Favorito v. Commission on Audit, G.R. No. 213368, November 10, 2015 (unsigned resolution); People v. Borje, Jr., 749 Phil. 719 (2014); Republic v. Arias, 743 Phil. 266 (2014); Quarto v. Ombudsman Marcelo, 674 Phil. 370 (2011).

    3 Rollo, pp. 51-53.

    4 Civil Service Commission v. Beray; Republic v. Arias, supra note 2.

    5 Supra notes 1 & 2. Complaint of the Ombudsman-Field Investigation Office, rollo, pp. 48-49.

    6 Id. at 29-31. Citations omitted.

    7 The decision was rendered by a Special Panel composed of Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officers Araceli R. Sonas-Crisostomo, Rolando L. Manjares, and Christine M. Tabasuares-Aba, reviewed by Assistant Ombudsman Aleu A. Amante, and approved by Acting Ombudsman Orlando C. Casimiro. Id. at 88-117.

    8 Id. at 102-103.

    9 Id. at 104.

    10 Id.

    11 Id. at 106-107.

    12 Id. at 107-108.

    13 Id. at 108.

    14 Id.

    15 Id.

    16 Id.

    17 Id. at 109.

    18 Id. at 112-113. Citations omitted, emphases in the original. Underlining supplied.

    19 Id. at 125-131. The order was issued by a Special Panel composed of Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officers Araceli R. Sonas-Crisostomo, Rolando L. Manjares and Christine M. Tabasuares-Aba, reviewed by Assistant Ombudsman Aleu A. Amante, and approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

    20 Appeals from decisions rendered by the Ombudsman in administrative cases are governed by Rule 43 of the Rules of Court. Fabian v. Desierto, 356 Phil. 787 (1998).

    21 Rollo, pp. 29-44; penned by Associate Justice Priscilla J. Baltazar-Padilla (now a retired Member of this Court) with Associate Justices Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicente and Agnes Reyes-Carpio, concurring.

    22 Id. at 46-47.

    23 Id. at 41.

    24 Id. at 41-42.

    25 G.R. No. 237837, June 10, 2019.

    26 Rollo, p. 38.

    27 Id. at 112.

    28 Id. at 8-10; 36-38.

    29 325 Phil. 316 (1989).

    30 Id. at 335.

    31 Arias v. Sandiganbayan, (Third Div.), 259 Phil. 794, 801 (1989). The Arias doctrine espouses the general rule that all heads of office cannot be convicted of a conspiracy charge just because they did not personally examine every single detail before they, as the final approving authority, affixed their signatures on the subject documents. Lihaylihay v. People, 715 Phil. 722 (2013).

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