The Office of the Ombudsman had ordered the dismissal of Cawaling in April for graft, gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct, conduct unbecoming of a public official and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service in connection with the environmental problems in Boracay.
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Dismissed Aklan mayor reelected despite Boracay mess
Jennifer Rendon (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2019 - 12:00am

ILOILO CITY , Philippines  —  The dismissed mayor of Malay town in Aklan, Ciceron Cawaling, has a fresh mandate after he was proclaimed winner in the mayoralty race.

The Office of the Ombudsman had ordered the dismissal of Cawaling in April for graft, gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct, conduct unbecoming of a public official and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service in connection with the environmental problems in Boracay.

The mayor incurred the ire of President Duterte, who lamented that Boracay Island had turned into a “cesspool.”

Cawaling, of the Nacionalista Party, garnered 16,277 votes, defeating former mayor John Yap of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, who got 12,260 votes. Independent candidate Rodgiet Ranara got 1,200 votes.

Frolibar Bautista, runningmate of Cawaling, won as vice mayor over incumbent Mayor Abram Sualog and Eliberto Daguno.

On April 24, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) served a dismissal order on Cawaling hours after he reported for work from his six-month preventive suspension.

Also dismissed was Jen Salsona,  licensing officer III of Malay town.

Cawaling’s camp had denied the charges and vowed to appeal the decision before the Supreme Court (SC).

 “With his reelection, it only shows that the people don’t believe the accusations thrown against him,” Rowen Aguirre, Cawaling’s executive assistant, said.

“He was blamed for everything. Parang ginawa siyang scapegoat for everything that happened, for all the violations,” Aguirre said.

The complaint against Cawaling was filed by DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing.

The charges against 15 other local officials, including Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores, Malay Vice Mayor Abram Sualog, members of the provincial board and Valentin Talabero of the Provincial Environment Natural Resources Office, were dismissed for lack of merit.

Another mayoralty candidate, Frankie Locsin of Iloilo, emerged victorious despite being disqualified from public office.

Locsin, former mayor of Janiuay, won the mayoralty race.

The Sandiganbayan sentenced Locsin to up to 10 years in prison and barred him from holding public office after he was found guilty of graft in connection with the allegedly anomalous purchase of medicine worth P15 million.

Reports said the SC has junked Locsin’s motion for reconsideration and affirmed the anti-graft court’s decision dated Feb. 23 and June 8, 2015.

The camp of Locsin’s opponent, incumbent Vice Mayor Jojo Lutero, said the Sandiganbayan’s decision was final and executory.

Lawyer Jose Nick Mendros, director of the Commission on Elections Region 6, earlier said Lutero’s lawyer should file a petition for disqualification before the Comelec.

Locsin garnered 11,383 votes against Lutero’s 7,438.

CICERON CAWALING
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