Ombuds to Cebu City Council: Solve Mambaling mess
Odessa O. Leyson (The Freeman) - May 17, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas has directed the Cebu City Council to address the dispute between the two chiefs of Barangay Mambaling.

The anti-graft body, in a February 26 letter addressed to Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, said the council should act on the letter dated January 25 of Acting Mambaling Barangay Captain Anne Marie Vestil Palomo about Gines Abellana’s defiance of the 24-month suspension order.

A copy of the Ombudsman’s letter was received by Palomo last Wednesday.

Abellana was suspended on January 9, 2019 by the Cebu City Council for abuse of authority following a complaint of four barangay councilors, who alleged that Abellana withheld their honoraria from July to December 2018.

But Abellana continues to function as the village chief and stays in the barangay hall.

He still issues memorandums and orders to barangay staff, said Palomo who took over the post on January 10.

Palomo added that Abellana are holding meetings with barangay workers, posting memorandum detailing that she is an “unofficial” acting barangay captain, and sending a letter to the Land Bank of the Philippines where the funds of the barangay is deposited, among others.

“Up to now, Abellana openly defies the decision of the City Council by continuing to exercise the functions of the office,” she said.

“Gihimo na ng barangay as breeding ground of corruption. They (Abellana) are asking fees for the rental of the gymnasium without official receipt,” she added.

The tension between the two chiefs rose on February 11 when Abellana refused Palomo’s entry for the annual inventory of the barangay hall.

She ordered the inventory of the barangay through an executive order as per directive of the Commission on Audit (CoA) and Department of Interior and Local Government in Central Visayas (DILG-7).

However, Abellana locked eight rooms, including the barangay chairman’s room with all the necessary documents inside it. The secretary’s office, treasurer’s office, some barangay councilmen’s offices, the barangay bodega, audio-visual room, and the barangay’s daycare center were all closed.

He also refused to let Palomo’s inventory committee in.

Abellana said he won’t leave his post until the results of his pending appeal on his two-month suspension before the Office of the President.

“Intawon sad na siya, nagdamgo nga wala’y mata-mata. Ang suspension is on appeal, so dili na mahilabtan sa City Council. Hapit na siya mawad-an og trabaho, maong nagsugod na og andar,” Abellana told The FREEMAN in text message. — KBQ (FREEMAN)

EDGARDO LABELLA
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