Consul general to Japan axed over false data sheet entriesBy Cynthia D. Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed from the government service Consul General to Japan Ma. Lourdes Ramiro-Lopez for making false entries in her 1971 and 2005 personal data sheets (PDS).
In an 11-page decision signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on March 22, Lopez was held administratively liable for dishonesty, falsification of official documents, misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service.
Aside from dismissal, Lopez also faces cancellation of her civil service eligibility, forfeiture of her retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from public office.
In its complaint-affidavit, the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) accused Lopez of “falsely declaring in her 1971 and 2005 PDS that she had obtained a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication from Maryknoll College or the University of the Philippines, when in fact, she had not.”
The FIO submitted a certification issued by the UP College of Mass Communication stating that student records indicated Lopez “is not a graduate of either the old Institute of Mass Communication (the original name of the college) or the College of Mass Communication of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.”
The FIO further pointed out that based on her True Copy of Grades (TCG) issued by the UP College of Mass Communication and her Official Transcript of Records (OTR) issued by the UP Registrar’s Office, Lopez was not able to complete the 140 units required to obtain the degree at the university.
The decision also said that Lopez indicated in her 1971 PDS that she was single but in her 2005 PDS she said she was separated.
In her counteraffidavit, Lopez admitted that she got married during her sophomore year in college—way before she was hired by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in 1971.
The Ombudsman argued, however, that Lopez only disclosed her status in her 2005 PDS, despite her claim that she and her husband had been estranged before she moved to New York in 1970.
“Under civil service regulations, the accomplishment of the PDS is a requirement for employment in the government. The declarations made by every government personnel in their respective PDS are not empty statements. Rather, the PDS is an official public document,” the decision said.
Lopez began her career with the DFA as a foreign service staff employee I at the Philippine consulate in New York City. She rose through the ranks and served as foreign service officer (FSO) IV, FSO III, FSO II, FSO I, counselor and chief of mission (CM) II, CM I, DFA assistant secretary and consul general in Osaka, Japan.