‘Suspend Dumanjug mayor’

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Monday, March 24, 2014


THE Cebu Provincial Board (PB) asked Gov. Hilario Davide III to suspend Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia for 60 days on charges of abuse of power and usurpation.

Eight PB members, all members of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), yesterday adopted the recommendations of the committee investigating the charge against Garcia to put the mayor under a 60-day preventive suspension. The three members of One Cebu, allies of Garcia, abstained.

One Cebu PB Members Joven Mondigo Jr., Sun Shimura and Alex Binghay said they abstained because they were not furnished copies of Gica’s complaint and Garcia’s answer.

Garcia, younger brother of former governor and now third district Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia, described his suspension as an “injustice.”

He said he did not expect fairness from the PB committee on complaints and investigation, which investigated the complaint filed by Dumanjug Vice Mayor Efren Gica.

Appointment

Mayor Garcia belongs to One Cebu, the rival of the LP.

Gica filed an administrative complaint against Garcia who allegedly appointed the municipal council secretary, in violation of Section 456 (2) of the Local Government Code of 1991, which states that the vice mayor had the power to appoint all officials and employees of the Municipal Council, including the secretary.

Garcia said he merely designated Emmilou Cabonillas as acting municipal council secretary after Victor Tan Jr. resigned on June 26, 2013 and Gica has yet to assume office.

PB Member Arleigh Sitoy, chairperson of the committee on complaints and investigation, said they found “strong evidence of guilt” in Mayor Garcia.

He said the committee recommended Garcia’s preventive suspension to prevent him from posing influence or threaten the investigation on the abuse of power and usurpation complaints.

Objective

Sitoy said the investigation on Garcia was done objectively because he and the mayor are friends.

But the Dumanjug Municipal Government declared Sitoy a persona non grata along with Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale.

Garcia said Sitoy and the members of the committee, who belong to the LP, should have inhibited themselves from the investigation to ensure objectivity.

The town mayor filed graft and corruption charges against Sitoy and five members of the committee on complaints and investigation.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 25, 2014.

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