Due to suspension: Gica can’t assume yet despite winning polls
May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - May 21, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Efren Guntrano "Gungun" Gica may have won as mayor of Dumanjug, Cebu in the recent elections, he still cannot sit as the town’s chief executive though.

Gica still has to continue serving the remaining days of his 90-day preventive suspension, which will run until July 31.

If there is any consolation, his brother - Erwin "Wado" Gica - and Evelinda "Belinda" Quirante, who runs in the same political party of the Gica brothers, will be sitting temporarily as the acting mayor and vice mayor, respectively.

Based from the official results of the Commission on Elections in Dumanjug office, Efren won with 17,608 votes against Cesar Baricuatro with 11,354 votes.

His brother Erwin garnered 15,862 votes, beating Luciano "Tatang Noli" Famor who got 11,904 votes.

Baricuatro ran under Partido Demokratiko Pilipino - Lakas ng Bayan while Famor is with One Cebu.

Topping the race for councilor was Quirante who got 14,371 votes.

Lawyer Ian Kenneth Lucero, legal officer of the Department of the Interior and Local Government-7, said the Gicas may take oath as duly elected mayor and vice mayor at the town.

However, in Efren's case, he still cannot assume office as the town's mayor by June 30.

"He (Efren) is the elected mayor but temporarily he cannot perform his duties because of the preventive suspension," said Lucero.

He said the suspension, which was earlier ordered by the Sandiganbayan, is "attached" to the person and not to his position.

Previously, DILG Cebu Provincial Director Jerome Gonzales served the suspension order at Efren's residence on May 2, Thursday.

The suspension order stemmed from Efren's criminal case or graft charges.

In April, the Sandiganbayan has ordered the 90-day preventive suspension of Gica in connection with his pending criminal cases for allegedly padding up the amount of meal expenses for a barangay assembly event in 2014 when he was still vice mayor.

With the temporary vacancy of a mayor, the rule on succession follows. Lucero said the newly-elected vice mayor will perform the duties of the mayor in an acting capacity.

Moreover, the first-rank councilor will sit as the acting vice mayor once the DILG Secretary issues the designation order.

Lucero explained that in the case of the acting vice mayor, it needs designation by the DILG Secretary pursuant to Administrative Order No. 15 issued by the President.

Without the DILG designation, the town's legislative department can still proceed with their regular or weekly sessions.

"As to who will preside over the session, the law says that in the inability of the regular presiding officer (vice mayor), the sanggunian (municipal council) members will choose from among themselves who will temporarily preside the session," said Lucero. (FREEMAN)

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