National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Benny D. Antiporda has asked the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) to investigate and file appropriate criminal and administrative charges against the agency’s lawyers on the P205-million case it lost this year.
Antiporda shared details of the letter NIA sent to the OMB last Sept. 15 during a press conference held at the NIA Main Office in Quezon City on Monday, Sept. 19.
In the letter, Antiporda asked Ombudsman Samuel R. Martires to look into the criminal and administrative liabilities of lawyers Lloyd Allain A. Cudal and Mary Annabelle F. Cruz-Domingo. Cudal is acting manager of Legal Services, while Cruz-Domingo is handling lawyer of the case.
Antiporda alleged that NIA lost a case against Green Asia Construction Development Corporation (GACDC) before the Construction Industry Arbitration Commission (CIAC) and was ordered to pay P205,958,119.77.
“This burdensome and irremediable loss was because of lawyers Cudal and Cruz-Domingo’s lackadaisical attitude and cavalier handling of the case,” said Antiporda. “Such loss could have been avoided had they performed their tasks and duties with devotion, utmost diligence and good faith,” he said.
After they lost the case, Cruz-Domingo filed a motion for reconsideration upon the advice of Cudal, but it was denied by the CIAC. Cruz-Domingo then filed a petition before the Court of Appeals which dismissed it outright, Antiporda said.
In his letter, Antiporda stressed that the NIA lawyers should have known that the correct recourse is a petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court.
While it was Cruz-Domingo who lost the case, Antiporda said that a huge chunk of blame is on Cudal’s shoulders since he is the legal manager.
“Cudal should have closely monitored the case and discussed the same with his entire team in order to come up with the appropriate legal remedy and plan accordingly and carefully, considering the massiveness of the exposure involved,” said Antiporda.
“He should have determined whether he could still trust Cruz-Domingo to further handle the case, taking into account the fact that the latter had already lost the case in CIAC,” he said.
Antiporda asked the OMB to hold the two lawyers criminally liable for violations of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Section 4(b) of R.A. No 6713 or the Code of Conduct of Public Officials and Employees, and Section 46(8) Chapter 7, Book V of Executive Order No. 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987.
On administrative liabilitt, he asked that the two laywers should be charged with gross ignorance of the law, gross neglect of duty, and grave misconduct in the performance of official duties.
Efforts to get the side of Cudal and Cruz-Domingo were futile. Manila Bulletin will publish their sides when their counter-affidavits are filed with the OMB.
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