City fiscal back in office, vows to bring changes

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Monday, June 16, 2014

AFTER his preventive suspension was reversed by the justice department recently, City Prosecutor Fidel Macauyag who is back in office will implement a few changes at the city prosecutor’s office (CPO).

Macauyag was suspended on orders of Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary Leila De Lima for failing to submit to the DOJ main office in Manila an estafa complaint, which accordingly was in violation of department order 963 and memorandum order 003, both dated November 14, 2012. His suspension began April 22, 2014.

After Macauyag made an appeal on May 28, 2014, De Lima decided to reverse the 90-day suspension order.


First on Macauyag’s to-do list is to replace one of CPO’s two division chiefs.

Assistant City Prosecutor (ACP) Allan Radaza is the new chief of Division A, who will replace ACP Macaurog Maunting. ACP Julieta Buhat-Piloton remains as the chief of Division B.

In a few days that Macauyag was under suspension, the DOJ assigned Maunting as the temporary city prosecutor.

Macauyag will also assign two new prosecuting attorneys to replace senior prosecutors Rodrigo Talledo and Benjamin Tabique who are retiring.

Wake-up call

Macauyag said his suspension served as a wake-up call for him.

He said he realized that “even if someone has not committed any violation, but if some lapses of judgment occur, you can be made liable for an act that does not actually constitute an offense,” even if it is in good faith and if it has not posed any damage to any private individual or the government.

But, Macauyag said, he has no ill feelings against those whom he perceived as responsible for his suspension.

“I harbor no grudge. That will only eat up my material time that is needed by my tough job. I forgive those who attempted to snatch my office. After all the office is not mine as it is merely entrusted to me,” Macauyag said in a text message to this paper Sunday afternoon.

“I can still work with those who may have the hands in trying to boot me out. I appeal to them to instead help to further improve the performance of the office. We can still work together,” he added.

Reversal of suspension

The reversal of Macauyag’s suspension was ordered by De Lima through a memorandum dated June 2, 2014.

In her memorandum, De Lima cited Macauyag’s request to the justice department that his administrative case be tried before the Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) of the DOJ in Manila, “in order to avoid miscarriage of justice.”

Macauyag added that his preventive suspension of 90 days be reconsidered, arguing that it is even “harsher than the penalty for insubordination and violations of office rules and regulations.”

After a careful review of the available records, De Lima said in the memo, “there appears to be a sufficient basis that this case be tried before the (IAU) … to avoid suspicions of bias and partiality. In administrative cases, respondent, as a part of administrative due process, is entitled to an impartial tribunal.”

De Lima’s memorandum also discussed about Macauyag’s suspension.

“This Department upholds the principle that it (suspension) must be ‘resorted to with caution taking consideration the fact that the same (preventive suspension) will entail deprivation of work and salary during the period of suspension (Civil Service Commission No. 96-2570 dated April 11, 1996),” the memo said.

“Preventive suspension,” it said, “is a remedy resorted to ‘to prevent the accused from hampering the normal course of the investigation with his influence and authority over possible witnesses or to keep him off the records and other evidence…’”

The memo added that: “In the case of Prosecutor Macauyag, the circumstances surrounding his case does not show that his presence in the workplace while his case is being investigated will hamper the normal course of the investigation against him, or cause influence or pressure on the witnesses or tamper with the pieces of evidence that may be presented against him. Without the possibility of these circumstances, the imposition of preventive suspension becomes unnecessary and defective.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 16, 2014.

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