Albar’s Continued Stay At MKWD Is Untenable
Mr. Renato T. Albar’s "acts tended to diminish the faith of the employees under him in his integrity and responsibility as their General Manager, and because his acts encouraged, rather than discouraged, people into believing that he was a dispenser or peddler of undue patronage in violation of Sec. 4 (b) of R.A. 6713, respondent (Albar) should be held liable for the administrative offense of "Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interests of the Service". This is the conclusion of the office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) after its thorough investigation of the Complaint – OMB-V-A-08-0209-F filed by Mr. Socrates C. Macoy against General Manager Renato T. Albar; Ms. Allyn T. Badilles, finance officer; Ms. Felisa A. Buyoc – vice chairman; Ms. Nikki C. Fujas – secretary; and Mr. Gerry Luces who are all of Metro Kalibo Water District Provident Fund – Association, Inc. (MKWDFFAI) or PROFUND.
After its thorough investigation held, the Ombudsman (Visayas) found "substantial evidence to hold respondent Renato T. Albar liable for Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interests of the Service. He is hereby meted the penalty of nine (9) months suspension without pay… with a stern warning that repetition or commission of the same or similar offense would be dealt with more severely".
"The administrative case for Dishonesty/Grave Misconduct Against respondents Felisa A. Buyoc, NIKKI C. FUJAS, Gerry Luces and Allyn L. Badilles is hereby dismissed for lack of substantial evidence".
The complaint was filed with the Ombudsman (Visayas) in 1997 after the MKWD established a Provident Fund Plan Program (PFPP) for the benefits of all its regular employees which was administered by the Board of Trustees. But these same employees were then members of the Kalibo Water District Employees Union (KWDEU). Its fund sources were the 4 percent of their basic salary and 6 percent of basic salary as MKWD contribution.
After his appointment as MKWD general manager, and the KWDEU became critical of Albar’s management style and policies, Albar initiated the formation of a Provident Fund or PROFUND. Albar became chairman of its Board of Directors with members Albar himself handpicked. The PROFUND was registered with the SEC. Its fund came from 5 – 7 percent of their basic salary as their monthly contribution. Albar as general manager of MKWD authorized the disbursement of MKWD fund from its operation income equivalent from 6 – 18 percent of the basic salary of employees who are members of the profound. Albar also initiated the transfer of KWDEU to the PROFUND.
According to the complaint, Albar campaigned for the transfer of members from MKWDEU to PROFUND; the COA consistently disallowed from 2003 to 2007 the disbursement of funds to the PROFUND from MKWD’s operation income.
According to the complainant Macoy, MKWD contribution to PROFUND was illegal and in violation of Administrative Order No. 279 of President Corazon C. Aquino, and Executive Order No. 641 issued by Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
In their Join Counter Affidavit, Albar et al denied all these above stated allegations. In support to their denials Albar et al submitted to the Ombudsman the following: Minutes of MKWD Board Meetings held on June 13, 1999; July 8, 2003, General Meeting; July 17, 2003 MKWD Employees meeting; July 17, 2003 MKWD Employees Meeting; and MKWD Employees Resolution No. 001; Board Consideration No. 008 – 2003; Minutes of the MKWD Employees Meeting on July 29, 2003; Resolutions Nos. 002-2003 and 003-2003 among other evidences the respondents thought it will help them get acquitted of the complaint.
There were several exchanges of allegations and defenses made between the complainant and the respondents.
However, after "going by the chronological order of events", the Ombudsman (Visayas) said, "as the General Manager…Albar is at the forefront of the actions of its employees being their head of office," he had some kind of personal interest in PROFUND registration.
"Albar’s apparent preference of his private interest over his public duty affects public trust". "Albar’s acts tended to diminish the faith of the employees under him in his integrity and responsibility as their General Manager…his acts encouraged, rather than discouraged, people into believing that he was a dispenser or peddler of undue patronage"…Albar "should be held liable for the administrative offense of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interests of the Service.
Hence, Renato T. Albar is suspended as general manager of MKWD for nine (9) months without pay. He is warned, repetition or commission of the same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely.
After Mr. Albar has fully served his penalty, it will be for his best interest to resign his position in the MKWD. The Board of Directors of MKWD will, as well as, find a graceful exit for Mr. Alba. His continued stay with MKWD as general manager is now untenable. /MP