Dumanjug mayor suspended for appointing council secretary
Liv G. Campo, Michael Vencynth Braga (The Freeman) - March 10, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines- The Cebu Provincial Board has suspended Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia for six months for appointing a secretary for the town’s council – a job that belongs to the legislative branch.

Yesterday, the board adopted the recommendation of its investigating committee to hold Garcia liable for abuse of authority and to suspend him for six months.

Garcia has 30 days to appeal the decision.

The Committee on Complaints said Garcia abused his authority as mayor and usurped the authority of the vice mayor when he designated Emmylou Cabonillas as secretary of the municipal council.

It was Dumanjug Vice Mayor Efren Gica, who filed the complaint against Garcia on September 16, 2013.

In its report, the committee said Garcia admitted designating Cabonillas as council secretary on June 25, 2013.

After the order expired, Garcia again issued another designation order for Cabonillas on September, 8, 2014 but when Cabonillas did not accept the position, Garcia designated Arnelle Famador to take over.

The committee said that being mayor, Garcia is expected to be “knowledgeable” about the basic principle of separation of powers between the executive and the legislative departments, as espoused by the Local Government Code.

“Lest the committee be misunderstood, let it be clear that acts of public humiliation, vindictiveness, abuse of authority and oppression such as unreasonable withholding benefits or approval of official travels will not and should not be tolerated and should be penalized, however, the said allegations must be proven by substantial evidence. In this case, the complainant has failed to do so,” reads the report dated January 25.

Board Member Alex Binghay, Garcia’s political ally, moved to reduce the suspension to three months but Board Member Arleigh Sitoy, the head of the committee, said the committee would have to discuss the request and come up with a decision next week.

Sitoy said it is only when the committee will come up with a decision on Binghay’s request that the 30-day period for appeal will begin.

Last week, the board denied three motions that Garcia filed for the committee to hold its decision in abeyance until his appeal before the Office of the President is resolved.

The committee said the motions “appear to be the last ditch efforts to delay the approval of the committee report.”

“The respondent (Garcia) is resorting to filing all kinds of motions which either have already been ruled previously by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan... Obviously, these present motions of the respondent are all intended solely for the purpose of perpetually delaying the approval of the committee report. It is thus our suggestion that all these motions of the respondent be denied for lack of merit and for lack of basis,” the committee report reads.

Politics

Also yesterday, Garcia said in a press conference that he will file charges against those who signed his suspension.

Garcia said those who signed the suspension defied Section 9 (Stay of Execution) of Administrative Order No. 22 of the Office of the President, which states that “the execution of the decision/resolution/order appealed from is stayed upon the filing of the Notice of Appeal within the period prescribed herein.”

 Former governor Pablo Garcia, father of the embattled mayor, said the PB committee that handled the case should have turned over the records of the complaint after they forwarded to the Office of the President their demurrer to evidence in September last year, as per Section 4 of the same Presidential Order.

 Section 4 of AO No. 22 says “the department or agency concerned shall transmit to the Office of the President the complete records of the case…” within 10 days from receipt of the copy of the Notice of Appeal,

 “Wa nila tumana abi ‘amo man ang president… Di lang unta mag-railroad, respetaan lang ta ang Office of the President. They’ve taken for granted the Office of the President, mosugot kaha ang president ana? Mao na’y Daang Matuwid,” the older Garcia said.

He added, “Sobra ra. Duna’y pamulitika tuod pero sobra ra. Dakong iskandalo.”

A proof that the Liberal Party-dominated board is engaged in partisan politics, he contends, are the five administrative cases his son filed against Gica that the committee has not acted upon since last year.

“They don’t want to proceed with the cases against their vice mayor,” he said.

Gica is also with LP like Governor Hilario Davide III, Vice Govenor Agnes Magpale and the members of the Investigation committee that handled Garcia’s case.  — /JMO (FREEMAN)

 

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO ARNELLE FAMADOR BOARD MEMBER ALEX BINGHAY BOARD MEMBER ARLEIGH SITOY CABONILLAS COMMITTEE GARCIA NOTICE OF APPEAL OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT PRESIDENT
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