THE Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas started its investigation into the administrative case against eight Cebu City councilors.
Deputy Ombudsman Paul Elmer Clemente found “enough basis” to proceed with the administrative investigation against the respondents for their failure to attend their regular council session last Oct. 3, 2017.
Clemente ordered the city councilors to file their counter-affidavits in 10 days relative to the complaint filed by Emma Gabutan, who accused the councilors of gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct, inefficiency and incompetence in the performance of official duties.
Named respondents were Councilors Pastor Alcover Jr., James Anthony Cuenco, Jose Daluz III, Joel Garganera, Raymond Alvin Garcia, Jocelyn Pesquera, Eduardo Rama and ex-officio member Philip Zafra, president of the city’s Association of Barangay Councils.
“Failure to comply as herein directed within the period prescribed by the rules be deemed a waiver of the right to present the party’s counter-affidavit or reply affidavit and the investigation shall proceed according to the existing rules,” the order read.
Gabutan, of Guadalupe, Cebu City, charged the councilors with violation of Republic Act 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991), and violation of RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees).
In her complaint, Gabutan said she was disappointed by the performance of the respondents in the City Council.
The complaint was an offshoot of a letter dated Sept. 28, 2017, signed by the respondents, who informed Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella of their intent not to attend the regular session last Oct. 3.
Due to the respondents’ absence during the session, Labella declared a no quorum.
“Due to their absence, the minority put into hostage important legislative agenda and caused tremendous wastage of public funds. Their acts were repugnant to the mandate of the 1987 Constitution and Philippine laws,” Gabutan said in her complaint. (GMD)
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on February 15, 2018.
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