Over ‘Hantak’ incident: Basak Pardo execs spared from liability
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - July 11, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The officials of Barangay Basak Pardo in Cebu City are “administratively off the hook” in the complaints for negligence and dereliction of duty over the gambling activity that took place in the barangay on July 3.

City Legal Officer Rey Gealon said "The defense of the officials of Barangay Basak Pardo is tenable and meritorious, thus the City Legal Office found sufficient legal and factual bases to exonerate them, subject to the consolidated findings of the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government)."

Gealon said, however, that the officials will have to cooperate and coordinate with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the filing of charges of those who were involved in the "hantak" incident.

Last Saturday, June 4, 2020, the City Legal Office (CLO) served a show cause notice on the barangay officials after it verified the gambling activity “hantak” that involved about 15 residents of Sitio Ulap.

"As shown in the pictures, these persons huddled together to witness what is so called, 'Hantak', which is clearly a violation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine protocols," the notice read.

On July 8, the CLO submitted its findings and recommendations to DILG City Director Atty. Ian Kenneth Lucero.

On July 6, Barangay Captain Catalina Cabardo and six council members submitted their reply to the notice. Two council members were not able to sign the written explanation.

According to the CLO, the Barangay Peace and Safety Officers (BPSO) and the barangay officials and employees were performing official functions at the time of the incident.

"The Honorable Barangay Captain has sufficiently explained where the BPSO were detailed. She said the BPSO Personnel were responding to a theft incident in Sitio Baskio at around 1:10 in the afternoon and a vehicular accident along N. Bacalso Avenue. These incidents were reflected in the pertinent entries of the Logbook, with inscriptions by BPSO Placer," reads the document submitted to DILG.

The CLO added that the incident was an isolated case beyond the control of the barangay officials.

"The Honorable Barangay Captain alleged that the report on the incident never reached the barangay officials before it circulated on social media through a "dummy account’" coursed through the page of Atty. Juril Patiño, and it was only when the Hon. City Councilor David F. Tumulak informed Hon. Barangay Councilor Nelson Cabaluna II, that they were ultimately able to respond by sending police authorities to the persons involved in the gambling session last 03 July 2020," the document stated.

The CLO cited the explanation of the barangay captain that they have adopted a Public Announcement System, created a Facebook page, established a foot patrol of the BPSO personnel, border control on a per sitio basis, and facilitated transports of patients to the barangay isolation center and health care facilities.

The CLO's recommendation states that the barangay captain together with the six Sangguniang Pambarangay members are not negligent in the performance of their duties to enforce the mandate of Executive Order No. 82 issued by Mayor Edgardo Labella.

Section 2 (e) of Executive Order No. 82 prohibits mass gatherings during the enhanced community quarantine.

Mass gatherings such as but not limited to movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment activities, community assemblies, religious gatherings, and non-essential work gatherings shall be prohibited.

The CLO said the two barangay council members who were not able to submit their response should be deemed to have waived their opportunity to explain but are bound by the findings of the bodies or authorities investigating the incident.

"Hence the same is recommended to your good office for the consolidation of your findings in relation to the Show Cause Notice you also sent to the Honorable Barangay Captain to aid in the thorough investigation of the incident," the document reads.

Gealon enjoined the barangay officials to live up to their mandate, and unite for the good of the people regardless of political affiliation.

Other Incidents

Meanwhile, DILG-7 ordered two other barangay captains and their council members in Cebu City to explain in 48 hours why they should not be held liable for failing to perform the mandated duties and functions of a local chief executive during a state of national health emergency.

DILG-7’s Bantay Korapsyon lawyers Louthera Christie Rizon and Christian Fernandez served the show cause orders on Bulacao Captain Rodrigo Jabellana and Capitol Site Captain Manuel Guanzon and their respective council members.

A social media post showed a long queue of residents during the distribution of rice without observing social distancing in Bulacao.

In Capitol Site, a video posted by a concerned citizen on social media showed some residents staying and eating outside their homes, which are just across the barangay hall. Two people were seen sitting at the entrance of the barangay hall but did not call the attention of the residents.

As of yesterday, DILG-7 has issued 11 show cause orders on Cebu City barangay officials directing them to explain their alleged failure to enforce the policies and regulations during the ECQ.  JMO (FREEMAN)

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