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Dalaguete mayor remains in office despite suspension

(The Freeman) - January 23, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Dalaguete Mayor Ronald Allan Cesante remains in office despite a suspension order from the Office of the Ombudsman against him after he was found guilty of having material and financial interests in transactions that require approval from his office.

The anti-graft office ordered the suspension of Cesante for nine months on November 15, 2015. The order was received by the Department of the Interior and Local Government-7 on December 17, 2015 but remains unimplemented until now.

On the contrary, the DILG-7 was very quick in implementing the preventive suspension against Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama. Cesante is a member of the ruling Liberal Party while Rama is a member of the opposition, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Based on records, the Office of the President issued the suspension order against Rama on December 2, 2015.

“Wala pa man. Wala pa’y order sa ako’ng level. Option na sa region (DILG regional office-7) if sila mo-implement or ila isugo nako,” said DILG Cebu Provincial Director Gerome Gonzales.

The Office of the Governor also did not know about the suspension order.

“It is the Ombudsman that will serve or has served the order since Ombudsman ang decision. The Capitol has no hand on when it will be served,” said Capitol information officer Ethel Natera.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales suspended Cesante for “directly and indirectly having financial and material interest in any transaction that requires the approval of his office.”

The case stemmed from the complaint filed by Ildebrando Almagro, mayoralty candidate of One Cebu Party in the coming May 9 elections against Cesante.

Dalaguete reportedly loaned P18-million for a public market from Land Bank of the Philippines of which the mayor allegedly acquired four stalls which were occupied by her wife, Joanna.

Cesante allegedly started occupying the stalls in 2004 when he was mayor.

Almagro said Cesante drafted the contract of lease for the four stalls five days before his term ended in 2007.

He said Cesante and his wife had been occupying the four stalls since 2004 without contract, which amounted to P7,000 monthly rental, and occupied a space worth P250,000 each stall. — Gregg M. Rubio/FPL (FREEMAN)

ACIRC CEBU CITY MAYOR MICHAEL RAMA CEBU PROVINCIAL DIRECTOR GEROME GONZALES CESANTE DALAGUETE MAYOR RONALD ALLAN CESANTE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ETHEL NATERA GREGG M ILDEBRANDO ALMAGRO LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES OFFICE
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