City officials snub 2nd DILG-7 hearing

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - February 27, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Most of the Cebu City officials charged over the distribution of P20,000 calamity assistance to City Hall officials and employees in 2013 and their lawyers were a no-show during the marking of evidence in the administrative complaint.

Yesterday, the Department of Interior and Local Government-7 resumed the markings of exhibits or evidence of the respondents and the complainant. But it was without Mayor Michael Rama, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, and councilors Mary Ann de los Santos, Nendell Hanz Abella, Gerardo Carillo, Noel Wenceslao and their legal counsels.

These were the people who also walked out from the DILG-7 hearing room after lawyer Christopher Tiu, the hearing officer, turned down the request of city lawyer Jerone Castillo and other respondent’s lawyers to put into writing Tiu’s decision denying the motion for reconsideration they filed.

Councilor David Tumulak presented himself in yesterday’s hearing, saying that he has the discretion to attend even without his legal counsel.

The Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan councilors who were absent during yesterday’s hearing were Nestor Archival Sr., Alvin Dizon, and Eugenio Gabuya Jr.

Lawyer Reymelio Delute, who sued city officials for grave misconduct and abuse of authority, together with his counsel Benjamin Militar, and other respondents councilors Sisinio Andales, Alvin Arcilla, Roberto Cabarrubias, and Ma. Nida Cabrera were present during yesterday’s hearing.

The complaint stemmed from the approval of City Ordinance 2379 in December 2013 that granted P20,000 in calamity assistance to city officials and employees.

However, Castillo said that the legal counsel of the respondents and the city officials did not snub the marking of evidence.

“Nananghid man mi. We cannot subscribe to go with the marking because aside from we are questioning the jurisdiction, your (Tiu) being here is already in question because we already have you inhibited,” Castillo said.

Castillo said that there are so many legal remedies available for the respondents.  He said that they are preparing for their pleading that will be filed in “superior court.”

“Let them proceed. His integrity is already in question. Kabantay ka sa mga judges diri nga file-an og inhibition, bisag tan-aw nila nga ipa-inhibit sila because of alleged bias, magpaabot ba sila nga ipa-inhibit? Mo-inhibit ra sila oy… Among i-elevate sa superior court unya mo-apil-apil mi didto. Wala man mi ni-snub. Nananghid man mi nga we cannot continue otherwise we will be abandoning our theory that you cannot proceed with the proceedings,” he said.

During the hearing, Tiu asked to identify the respondents who walked out on Wednesday’s hearing.

Tumulak identified his colleagues, saying that it should be put on record that he is present during the marking even without his legal counsel.

Tiu adjourned the hearing after the presentation of evidence, saying that DILG will release the written order on its denial of the motion for reconsideration filed by the respondents.

Tiu said that after the marking of evidence, he will issue a notice when to proceed with the preliminary conference to start the formal investigation on the complaint.

Delute said that he will wait for the notice.

“Mo-release man gyud og written order ang hearing officer sa motion for reconsideration pero in open proceedings, iyang gi-rule ang proceedings with the assurance nga the written order will follow,” he said. — /BRP (FREEMAN)


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