Anti-graft case hounds Marina head

The Office of the President finds that a prima facie case exists against respondent Malaluan.
Anti-graft case hounds Marina head

Stakeholders in the maritime industry are wondering how Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Administrator Sonia Malaluan was able to obtain an appointment from Malacañang despite facing a complaint before the Ombudsman.

Malaluan on July 2022 was slapped with an administrative complaint for grave misconduct filed by the former vice admiral of the Philippine Navy and erstwhile chief of Marina’s standards of training, certification and watchkeeping office, Vice Admiral Rene Medina.

A notice of charge sent to Malaluan last 5 April, signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, said that upon conclusion of the requisite preliminary investigation on the 29 July 2022 complaint-affidavit filed by Medina, “the Office of the President (OP) finds that a prima facie case exists against respondent Malaluan.”

“…For the administrative offense of grave misconduct under par. (3) (A) of Section 50, Rule 10 of the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, committed/omitted through her alleged usurpation of the official functions of the executive director of the Marina Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping Office (STCWO), in clear violation of law and established rules.”

Submit to the OP

With this, Bersamin ordered Malaluan to submit to the OP and give her answer under oath, together with the affidavits of witnesses and documentary evidence within 10 days after receiving the notice.

“The filing of a motion to dismiss, request for clarification, bill of particulars, or other similar pleadings is prohibited and shall not be entertained by this Office. Should respondent opt to file any such pleadings, the same may be deemed by this Office as her answer and be evaluated as such. Respondent’s failure to file an answer within the prescribed period shall be considered a waiver of her right,” according to the order.

Marina was asked by DAILY TRIBUNE if they had acceded to the order of Malacañang, but its official who requested anonymity said he would ask its legal department if they had complied with the notice of charge.

In a phone interview on Saturday, Medina said they had not received any reply from Malaluan regarding his complaint.

“We haven’t received any update regarding her criminal case filed at the Ombudsman,” Medina added.

Unlawful complaint

Medina said the complaint stemmed from the termination of his services by Malaluan on 30 June 2022 as STCWO executive director, even if Malaluan was only in the post as officer-in-charge.

“Respondent is being charged in this complaint in her capacity as OIC administrator of Marina for performing acts not about the administrator position. She is likewise being charged in her capacity as OIC of the Office of the Deputy Administrator for Planning for declaring the position of Executive Director STCWO Marina as vacant in effect terminating the employment of the incumbent Executive Director effective 30 June 2022,” Medina’s complaint read.

Daily Tribune