SC Reprimands Ex-Gov’t Corporate Counsel Jurado

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The Supreme Court (SC) has reprimanded former Government Corporate Counsel Rudolf Philip B. Jurado in an administrative complaint filed against him two years ago.

In a 10-page decision dated Oct. 14 and released on Monday, Associate Justice Henri Jean Paul B. Inting said the court “reprimanded and sternly warned (Jurado) that a repetition of an offense of this character would be much more severely dealt with.”

The complaint had been filed in connection with Jurado’s issuance on July 25, 2017, of Opinion No. 174 extending the licensing jurisdiction of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (Apeco) which covered gaming licenses normally covered by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

On May 28, 2018, during a speech after the signing of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, President Rodrigo Duterte publicly announced Jurado’s dismissal from the Office of the Government Corporate for overstepping his authority by allowing Apeco to issue gaming franchises beyond its jurisdiction.

In June of the same year, a disbarment complaint was filed by Deputy Government Corporate Counsel Elpidio J. Vega and Assistant Government Corporate Counsel Efren B. Gonzales against Jurado and his former chief of staff Gabriel Guy P. Olandesca.

The SC, in finding Jurado remiss, said “It is inconceivable to adopt the opinion issued by Atty. Jurado that the metes and bounds of the Aurora Special Economic Zone are not determinative of Apeco’s limits of jurisdictional operation.”

“It is evident that Atty. Jurado fell short of what is expected of him as a lawyer in issuing Opinion No. 174 in disregard of existing law and jurisprudence, albeit without bad faith. The Court notes that Atty. Jurado, as then Government Corporate Counsel, should not only avoid all impropriety but also should avoid the appearance of impropriety in line with the principle that a public office is a public trust. Verily, any act that falls short of the exacting standards for public office shall not be countenanced,” the court reminded Jurado.

Meanwhile, the disbarment complaint against Olandesca was also dismissed for lack of merit.

Associate Justices Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe, Ramon Paul L. Hernando and Edgardo L. Delos Santos concurred in the decision. (PNA)

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