Cebu News

Gica regains post as Dumanjug mayor

Lorraine Mitzi A. Ambrad - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has reinstated Efren Guntrano Gica as mayor of Dumanjug, Cebu, seven months after the Court of Appeals (CA) had ruled in his favor.


“Wa man gyud ta mihawa sa posisyon (since he reassumed after the CA decision was released). I've always said from the very beginning nga aduna nay court precedent, nga base sa kaso, immediately executory na ang CA decision,” Gica told THE FREEMAN.

In 2017, the Ombudsman dismissed Gica over an alleged tampering of a receipt in 2014.

He was meted with perpetual disqualification for holding public office and cancellation of all civil service eligibilities.

Consequently, Vice Mayor Rene Asentista was appointed as acting mayor in January 2018 by the DILG.

Gica had questioned the Ombudsman ruling and elevated the case with the CA, which decided on July 27, 2018 to “reverse and set aside” the earlier decision of the anti-graft office.

By virtue of the CA decision, Gica said he reassumed his position as mayor in August 2018. However, his authority was questioned as there was no mention in the CA decision that his reinstatement is immediately executory.

The DILG, in a memorandum dated February 18, clarified that the CA decision should be immediately implemented.

“The decision exonerating the public officer in an administrative case, notwithstanding the appeal lodged by the Ombudsman, shall be immediately executory,” the memo quoted from a landmark case.

The DILG released the memo after its office was furnished a copy of the precedent case of CIDG vs P/SUPT Villafuerte.

“After further judicious evaluation of the case following the Supreme Court en banc decision in PNP-CIDG v. P/SUPT Villafuerte and reiterated in OMB Office Circular No. 2, the CA decision which reversed and set aside the OMB decision should now be implemented upon Efren Guntrano Gica and he be reinstated as mayor of Dumanjug,” it stated.

As a legal consequence, Acting Mayor Rene Asentista was also ordered by DILG to return to his post as the vice mayor and reassume the power and responsibilities as a presider of the Sangguniang Bayan.

Acting Vice Mayor Cesar Baricuatro was also ordered by the same department to reassume his position as the first SB member.

Both orders for Asentista and Baricuatro were dated February 26.

In addition, Gica also took the opportunity that the actions he made since he assumed, including the 17 weddings which he officiated, were legal.

Earlier, former Dumanjug mayor Nelson Garcia had questioned Gica's authority in officiating the union when the DILG has yet to issue a ruling on the CA decision. — GAN (FREEMAN)


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