The suspension meted by the Civil Service Commission to Tiere Dagñalan, an employee of the Provincial Accounting Office of LGU Sorsogon Province for simple neglect of duty is a harsh reality to civil servants. Though the decision took almost six years before its resolution, it bodes ill will to civil servants who defy the provision of RA 6713, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and to those who are happy in hiding transparency just to please their bosses. It is an eye opener to those who until now believes that they are the God’s of public records. Now, the heaven’s door opened because of the commissions decision.
It was a hard lesson for him for in the end he’s holding an empty bag of political patronage. He is alone in suffering the consequences because of misinterpretation of the provisions of RA 6713.
Out of this experience, his case can be the same for other servants in goverment service, particularly those who kowtow to the whims of their political patrons, oftentimes giving the curios public a run-a-round in sourcing documents to understand honest public governance and accountability. It is hard to digest what comes at the back of the mind of Dagñalan at the time that he was denying access to a public record, why would he rely on an office memorandum not perfected to plug the lid of public curiosity. This over zealousness to impressed a boss, landed him in a cauldron of hard reality.
The questions ringing in my mind are these. Was it worth the risk to cuddle the whims of a boss knowing that the loose ends are all yours to tie-up? Is it worthy to put your civil service career at the lowest consideration for there are benefits receive while in a position of confidence? Was it a ploy for the planners to set you on fire for you may have known too much? Or maybe, was the gain worth more than your family’s honor?
On the contrary, the inquisitive public found an ally in the decision which put to rest the notion that records of confidence is not subject to public scrutiny and could not be divulge. It must be understood that even state secrets records in its own time are declassified and opened for research to historians of events, much more that local government records are not marked as secret hence must be easily access by the public during office hours with proper request. The public can now use RA 6713 fully to waive on the face of an arrogant public servant, maybe it will serve it purpose to remind all and sundry that the public has the right to know.
This trend of running around a public request to release a document is common as a protocol of sort. Oftentimes it becomes a game of cat and mouse, all sort of lame excuses will be use just to hold the release of the document, This becomes as basic elementary rule in many government offices, these are the offices who reeks with corruptions, who take pride in their palliative standard of public service, that most of those who manned the desk are intolerant to the clamor of transparency and sensibility of truly serving the public than that of their patrons. Most of them are the cowards who hide in the cloak of the influences of their bosses, whose bosses are in the hierarchy of the most corrupt.
We see and hear their voices and sometimes we conclude that we are a sorry lot for we have the ilks and the eels in public service.
It now bears watching if this lesson can impact on public officers who have custody of public records. It becomes a Damocles sword above their head.
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