Dismissal from Service Imposed on Bureau of Corrections Officers and Personnel Relative to Leviste's May 2011 Caper

24 July 2013

In a Resolution dated 11 July 2013, the Secretary of Justice found the following  officers and personnel, namely:

1. PSIV Armando T. Miranda (former Superintendent of NBP);

2. PSII Ramon M. Reyes (then Superintendent of NBP);

3. PSII Dante D. Cruz (former OlC of the Minimum Security Compound,


4. PSI Robert R. Rabo (then OlC of the Minimum Security Compound, NBP);   


5. PGI Fortunato Justo (Leviste's custodian at the time of the incident),


guilty of administrative infractions and imposed upon all the respondents the penalty of dismissal from service and all its accessory penalties.

It will be recalled that as an offshoot of the 18 May 2011 arrest of inmate Jose Leviste (who  was supposed to be within the NBP confines) by NBI operatives at LPL Towers  n Makati City, a DOJ-NBI Fact- Finding Panel was constituted to look into said incident. After due proceedings, the Panel recommended, among others, the  filing of formal administrative charges against these five BuCor officials/personnel who were initially placed under a ninety (90)-day preventive suspension.

This same incident triggered the resignation of then BuCor Acting Director Ernesto L. Diokno.

In its Resolution, the DOJ found that the acts of respondent Miranda in: (a) approving the 'sleep-out' privilege of Leviste that  served as a venue for his escape; (b) transferring eight (8) other inmates to the Agro Section upon Leviste's request; (c) allowing the head count of Leviste and 8 other inmates to be conducted outside of the Minimum Security Compound; and (d) failing to establish counter-measures to prevent abuses of inmates with 'sleep-out' privileges - constitute grave misconduct, gross  neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service. As explained in the Fact-Finding Report, a 'sleep-out' status is granted to a minimum security prisoner who is allowed a privilege of staying outside the premises of the  Minimum Security Compund, without having to report at night and to sleep therein. It was discovered that this privilege is not found in the BuCor Operating Manual but is being granted solely upon the prerogative of the NBP Chief Superintendent. As the former Chief Superintendent of the NBP, Miranda was highly remiss in his duty when he failed to institute reforms and policies against the existing unlawful practices within the premises of the NBP. His approval of 'sleep-out' privileges which are not sanctioned by existing NBP rules illustrates his wilful violation of his duty.

Respondent Reyes's claim that he had no knowledge of Leviste's acts was not given credence. The Resolution pointed out that Reyes, despite having received information, as he in fact admitted, that Leviste has been sneaking from the NBP premises, but as then Chief Superintendent of NBP, he failed to directly address this report, and never issued any directive cancelling the baseless privileges. Because of the foregoing acts, the DOJ found Reyes guilty of gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service.

Results of the investigation reveal that respondent Cruz, former Officer-in-Charge of the Minimum Security Compound, recommended to Miranda the transfer of the headcount of Leviste and his 8 other inmates from the Minimum Security Compound to the BRSS or Agro Section, upon Leviste's request. The DOJ found Cruz guilty of grave misconduct for disregarding the established rules and regulations of the NBP and the Minimum Security Compound; gross neglect of duty for his failure to implement stricter rules and regulations within the compound despite flagrant violation of the same by Leviste and his other inmates; and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service for irregular and biased implementation of the NBP rules.

The DOJ also resolved that respondent Rabo, wilfully and intentionally, and with a conscious indifference to the consequences of his omission, disregarded his duties as OIC of the Minimum Security Compound at the time of Leviste's escape, for which he should be liable for gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service. It was ruled that Rabo cannot feign ignorance of Leviste's circumstances at the Agro Section since "he admitted having received raw information from Reyes relative to the previous capers of inmate Leviste".

The conflicting and inconsistent statements made by respondent Justo before the Fact-Finding Panel clearly show that he was remiss in his duties as the custodian of Leviste. It appears that the May 2011 incident was not the first time that Leviste had been out of the prison compound, illustrating Justo's failure to exercise care in the discharge of his functions. Based on the foregoing, the DOJ found that Justo had a clear intent to violate the law and disregard established rules, and accordingly, held him liable for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service.

In conclusion, the Resolution stressed that the actions of the respondents failed to meet the standards of prudence, caution, and attention which careful persons use in the management of their affairs; hence, they should be held accountable for their acts and omissions.







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