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Cebu News

Suspension stays for Ermita officials

Le Phyllis F. Antojado-Orillaneda - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the suspended officials of Barangay Ermita, Cebu City.

In an order dated February 2, Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Elmer Clemente rejected the barangay officials’ motion for reconsideration for “lack of merit.”

Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta said he expected that the Office of the Ombudsman will deny the motion for reconsideration (MR) that he and other suspended officials filed.

“Nag-expect mi ana nga wala gyod mi’y mahimo pero makahibolong kaayo nga nag-una among suspension sa paghatag og kopya sa complaint,” he said.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government implemented the six-month preventive suspension last Jan. 31 against all barangay officials of Ermita for their alleged failure to assist the anti-drug operation conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) last year.

Aside from Rupinta, named respondents were barangay council members Marky Rizaldy Miral, Antonieto Flores, Ryan Jay Rosas, Alio Tamundo, Domingo Ando, Maria Buanghug and Wilbert Flores.

Rupinta, who has not received copy of the order of the Office of the Ombudsman yet, said he will just wait for the next hearing of the Court of Appeals on his petition for the issuance of a temporary restraining order.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña, for his part, welcomed the order of the anti-graft office.

“From what I heard, they are getting adjusted. There are no problems. But I don’t know as far as the dismantling of the drug distribution or gambling or other foolishness in Barangay Ermita,” he said.

Osmeña said his people have stopped the “illegal collection” of fees from the vendors.

The mayor said the barangay used to collect at least P100,000 a day from the vendors within their jurisdiction.

“They are collecting almost P100,000 a day from the vendors and these vendors are happy that they don’t have to pay anymore. The money doesn’t go to city hall,” the mayor said.

Market Administrator Winefredo Orcullo, Jr. was designated to oversee the barangay operation pending the appointment from the Office of the President.

Osmeña also asked the Cebu City Police Office to assign SPO1 Adonis Dumpit at the Carbon Police Station.

The case stemmed from the accusation that the barangay officials “failed to cooperate and witness the conduct of physical inventory of the seized and confiscated item” by PDEA during its anti-drug operation in barangay Ermita last year.

The barangay officials filed an MR before the Ombudsman, saying that the complaint filed by PDEA was “(not) corroborated by (any) other evidence, does not justify the promulgation of the assailed Order imposing preventive suspension against them, and the assailed Order is contrary to law and even a blatant disregard of the Constitutional requirement of Due Process of Law.”

In their motion, the respondents said that they have no knowledge of the complaint because they were not furnished any copy.

Ombudsman-Visayas spokesperson Atty. Maria Corazon Naraja said that they can place the respondents under preventive suspension even before giving them the order for the filing of counter-affidavit.

She cited Republic Act 6770 that states that “the Office of the Ombudsman is not required to furnish the respondent with a copy of the complaint prior to ordering the preventive suspension.” — Jean Marvette A. Demecillo, Le Phyllis F. Antojado (FREEMAN)

SUSPENSION

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