Ex-Mayor Rillera slapped with fine for deploying health worker for beautification campaign

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Former Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay Mayor Maria Esperanza Corazon Rillera has been ordered to pay a fine for illegal reassigning a health worker.

The Office of the Ombudsman slapped the fine equivalent to one month and one day of salary after finding her guilty of simple misconduct.

The case stemmed from her issuance of a June 2013 memorandum which reassigned municipal midwife Consolacion Celeste to the Make Environment Clean, a special body which aims to intensify the municipal-wide beautification campaign.

The Ombudsman explained the reassignment is not allowed under the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers which provides that “the reassignment of a public health worker is prohibited, except when made in the interest of public service, in which case the employee concerned should be given a written notice informing him or her of the reasons for the reassignment.”

Because of this, the Ombudsman ruled “in reassigning a Midwife I to help implement a beautification campaign, the respondent did not comply with the Magna Carta requirement that public health workers may only be reassigned in the interest of public service since her new duties are so far removed from her usual responsibilities as a Midwife I.”

The Ombudsman no longer imposed harsher penalties since it found Rillera had no clear intent to violate the law or disregard the rules since she issued a memorandum dated November 22, 2013 directing all reassigned employees to return to their original work stations.