Last batch of councilors serve suspension-A A +A
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Vice Mayor Romeo Salda, Councilors Arthur Shontogan and Esterella Adeban are the officials of the last batch to serve their 90-day mandatory preventive suspension.
For the meantime, Councilor Jim Botiwey now serves as presiding officer of the legislative body, being the top alderman in the 2009 elections.
Botiwey assumed his post as presiding officer in the town’s council meeting, filling in for Salda.
Salda, Shontogan, and Adeban are the last batch of legislators serving the preventive suspension ordered by Judge Danilo Camacho.
It can be recalled that the entire Municipal Council was suspended based on the ruling regarding the December 2010 declaration of veteran journalist Jimmy Laking as “persona non grata” for his alleged biased reporting when a graft case was filed by the latter thereafter.
Courts ruled “all the elements of graft were present which including their being public officials who acted with manifest impartiality, evident bad faith or inexcusable negligence which action caused undue injury to (Laking).”
While the criminal case is ongoing, all councilors were ordered to serve their preventive suspension until the case is resolved.
The case is a first in the in the Philippines, initially putting the municipality in a quandary on how to handle the legislative body’s mandatory preventive suspension.
Camacho ruled the scheduling of the suspension in three batches to avoid crippling the Valley of legislative work.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 18, 2012.