The changing of the guard that was not

By Jaime Pilapil

ON March 9 this year and acting on the 2007 recommendations of the Office of the Ombudsman, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Ernesto Diokno, now on-leave, issued a removal order against Assistant Director Teodora Diaz, only to designate her as officer in charge(OIC) of the bureau on May 21, two days after the caper of homicide convict and former Gov. Jose Antonio Leviste of Batangas.

Also ejected from his post was Diaz’s husband, Armando, who was assigned at the fingerprint office.

Diokno then designated Supt. Armando Miranda of the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), in a concurrent capacity, as OIC assistant director for administration and rehabilitation.

At present Diaz is the OIC of BuCor pending the outcome of investigation by a five-man panel from the Department of Justice of the May 18 incident where Leviste was able to get out of the NBP in Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila) without official permission.

Meanwhile, Miranda has been unseated and was placed on floating status.

Diokno is on official leave pending results of the Justice department inquiry into Leviste’s May 18 caper.

Records showed that the decision of the Ombudsman was only received by Diokno on January 27, 2011.

It was signed by Deputy Ombudsman for the Military—Emilio Gonzales 3rd—the very person who had been ordered by Malacanang dismissed from service for sitting on the case of a police officer.
It took more than one month for Diokno to issue a removal order against the Diaz couple.

The ejection of the Diazes stemmed from a July 26, 2007 ruling of the Office of Ombudsman that found the couple guilty of grave misconduct, for which they were meted out the penalty of dismissal from the service pursuant to Section 52, Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.

The case against the Diaz couple arose from an anonymous letter denouncing the unexplained wealth of the spouses while being
employed by BuCor.

Investigation showed that the couple earned only P160,672 in salaries from 1994 to 1998 but their net worth had ballooned to P967,580.

“There is a difference of P806,908, which from the documents gathered cannot be substantiated,” according to the nine-page decision.

The Diaz couple denied the charges and cited income derived from lendings and rentals, among others.

But the Ombudsman said that the couple failed to submit proofs that they had borrowed money from individuals and corporations.

“The unsubstantiated allegations of respondents on those respect are considered self-serving and deserve scant consideration. Bare allegations, unsubstantiated by evidence, is not equivalent to proof under the Rules of Court [Garcia v De Vera, 418 SCRA 27),” the decision said.

The Ombudsman also discovered that the couple failed to file their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth for 1995 and that they did not declare their rental income in their 1998 SALN.

The Manila Times tried to get the side of Mrs. Diaz but was told that she was not in her office.

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