Lawyer Romeo Serrano, Comelec-Bicol assistant director and Albay election supervisor, said that the local government of Daraga should continue providing services to its constituents and attending to the needs of its employees.
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Comelec allows Daraga mayor to perform duties
Cet Dematera (The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2019 - 12:00am

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has not banned accused Mayor Carlwyn Baldo of Daraga, Albay from discharging his official functions as long as there is no court order that suspends or replaces him as the town’s chief executive.

Lawyer Romeo Serrano, Comelec-Bicol assistant director and Albay election supervisor, said that the local government of Daraga should continue providing services to its constituents and attending to the needs of its employees.

“What is paramount here is there is no hampering of the services that Daraga is mandated to provide to its clients and that its employees continue to receive their salaries on time,” Serrano told The STAR.

Serrano even commended the officials and the employees of the Daraga municipal government for attending to their duties despite the controversies hounding their mayor.

“We are glad to know that it is business as usual at the Daraga municipal hall. This means that the usual transactions there remain normal and unhampered,” he added.

Baldo is also facing charges of double murder and frustrated murder before the Albay Prosecutor’s Office after the mayor was pinpointed by witnesses as the alleged mastermind in the murder of Ako Bicol party-list representative Rodel Batocabe and his police escort Senior Police Officer 1 Orlando Diaz in Barangay Burgos, Daraga last Dec. 22.

Both complaints of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and the murder and frustrated murder against Baldo have yet to be resolved by the prosecutor’s office as of press time.

Eugene Sangil, Baldo’s spokesman, confirmed that the mayor is still performing his duties as Daraga chief executive even if he is confined in a local hospital.

“In fact, he just issued a memorandum ordering his division chiefs to comply with the requirements of Comelec since Daraga is already under Comelec control,” Sangil said.

He said Baldo has assigned a liaison officer to coordinate transactions, including the bringing of documents to the mayor’s hospital bed.

Pending resolution by the Albay Prosecutor’s Office of the complaints filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) against Baldo, the mayor would remain under CIDG custody.

The CIDG-Bicol had already filed their complaints of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives against Baldo, who was arrested after assorted firearms and explosives were found inside the Daraga mayor’s compound in Barangay Tagas last Tuesday.

Earlier, Anthony Nuyda, Bicol director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), said their action would depend on the resolution of the prosecutor’s office on the complaints filed against the Daraga mayor.

“Any action to suspend or not Mayor Baldo will depend on the prosecutor’s resolution. We in DILG do not want to make decision without getting report from the Prosecutor’s Office or the CIDG,” Nuyda said.

The Albay Prosecutor’s Office has allowed Baldo’s request for a preliminary investigation on the complaints of illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives.

Serrano said Comelec was waiting yesterday for a report about the status of the Daraga mayoral post from the DILG.

Batocabe and his bodyguard Diaz were shot dead by armed men as they were boarding a vehicle after a gift-giving activity for senior citizens in Barangay Burgos in Daraga last Dec. 22.

Seven people were also injured in the shooting, six of whom suffered gunshot wounds.

The major breakthrough in the case came when Baldo’s former associate Emmanuel Judavar surfaced and divulged the plot to kill Batocabe, who was one of the mayor’s opponents in the coming local elections.

Judavar told probers that he was part of the plan but he backed out sometime in October because of a personal conflict with Baldo.– With Evelyn Macairan

CARLWYN BALDO COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS
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