Cebu News

4 City Hall workers finally get back pay in full

Iris Hazel M. Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The four regular employees of City Hall whose complaints led to the six months preventive suspension of Mayor Michael Rama finally heaved a sigh of relief after receiving the full amount of their withheld salaries.

Aside from receiving their back wages, Filomena Atuel, Maria Almicar Diongzon, Sybil Ann Ybanez, and Chito Dela Cerna were also restored to their original assignments at the City Assessor’s Office.

Cebu City Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia announced yesterday that they have already released the six months worth of salaries of the four employees. Garcia was thankful to the City Council for immediately approving the needed resolution to cover for the amount needed to pay the back wages.

“Lo and behold, kaya man diay nato i-release ang kwarta og one week,” said Garcia.

Diongzon, one of the four employees, told reporters that it was last Friday that they officially received the remaining six months of their unpaid salaries covering the period from July 2023 to December 2023.

“Humana ang atong kalbaryo para ani nila, they can finally, you know, move on. Dili na nato ni i-pass on, they can finally move on thinking human na gyud, nabayran na gyud ang ilahang back wages,” said Garcia.

During the media briefing where the official announcement was made, Garcia also signed an order recalling the four employees to their original workstation. The order in effect revoked their reassignments outside of the City Assessor’s Office.

The four employees were directed to report to the new officer-in-charge of the Assessor’s Office, Leizl Calamba, who replaced suspended city assessor Theresa Rosell.

Meanwhile, Garcia said he already received an initial report of the investigation conducted by the Office of the City Administrator on the alleged harassment experienced by one of the complainants from a fellow city hall worker.

“I already have the initial report. Of course, it will have to go through due process. By today (yesterday), 2 pm, (there will be) clarificatory hearing, gipatawag ang mga parties involved, including them (complainants),” said Garcia.

After the clarificatory hearing, a final report is expected to be out today, May 21, 2024.

Garcia said they will immediately implement the sanction or penalty, whatever may be fitting to conclude the incident.

“And after that, close book nata, dili nata maghunahuna ani kay daghan pa kaayo ta’g gihunahuna nga mga problema,” said Garcia.

A video made rounds on social media showing Ybanez being harassed by a fellow city hall worker after the Office of the Ombudsman placed Rama and seven other officials under six months preventive suspension.

The anti-graft office found sufficient grounds to put the mayor and the seven other officials under preventive suspension for grave misconduct, conduct unbecoming of public officer, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, grave abuse of authority (oppression), and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for public officials and employees. — (FREEMAN)

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