Team Rama bloc seeks Andales’ 30-day suspension

CEBU City councilors of the Barug Team Rama bloc and their partymate Renato “JunJun” Osmeña Jr. are seeking the 30-day preventive suspension of Councilor Sisinio Andales.

Last Sept. 27, Councilors Joy Pesquera, Jose Daluz III, Edu Rama, James Anthony Cuenco, Philip Zafra, Raymond Alvin Garcia, Joel Garganera and Pastor Alcover Jr., and JunJun lodged before the Office of the President three administrative complaints against Andales, a member of Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan.

In their complaint, the councilors and JunJun alleged that Andales committed dishonesty, grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct for receiving both representation allowance/transportation allowance (RATA) and a vehicle from City Hall.

In a letter to the City Council last Oct. 4, 2016, the City Accountant’s Office attached the list of officials and employees with RATA for the months of July to September.

According to the list, among the recipients of the RATA was Andales, who reportedly accepted a monthly transportation allowance of P8,500 from July to Sept., or a total of P25,500.

The complainants also cited another letter, this time from the Department of General Services dated Sept. 27, 2016, with the list of city officials who were assigned government-issued vehicles. The list showed that Andales was issued a Toyota Fortuner last July 13, 2016.

With this, the complainants asked Malacañang to serve Andales with the maximum preventive suspension, or 30 days.

“In the Philippines, it is a well-established rule that no government official or officer who is already receiving a transportation allowance from a government agency or instrumentality shall receive or use a motor vehicle from the same government agency or instrumentality,” a portion of the complaint read.

They cited a 1992 Supreme Court (SC) decision on the same issue in the case of Bustamante vs Commission on Audit and Caburian, G.R. 103309.

The SC quoted Section 14 of Presidential Decree 733, which provides that no official, which has been furnished motor transportation allowance by any government corporations or other office, shall be allowed to use motor vehicle transportation operated and maintained from funds appropriated.

Sought for comment, Andales said the possibility of the opposition “retaliating” against him for his earlier pronouncement is not far-fetched.

“Absolutely political. Why now? The timing is clear,” Andales told SunStar Cebu in a text message.

In a privilege speech during the regular session last Sept. 26, Andales said that Association of Barangay Councils president Zafra lacks the authority to continue performing his duties as ex-officio member since his term may have already expired following a memorandum issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) dated Sept. 6.

The DILG said that Republic Act 10923, or the law that postponed the October 2016 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, directed the holdover of all incumbent barangay officials, without similar extension on their ex-officio representation at the municipal, city and provincial councils.

Junjun is the Barug Team Rama ally who was officially endorsed by the United Nationalist Alliance to replace councilor Nendell Hanz Abella, who resigned to assume the post of commissioner of the National Labor Relations Commission.

Barug Team Rama said they are waiting for the confirmation of President Rodrigo Duterte to make JunJun’s appointment effective.
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