THE provincial office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has served the 90-day suspension without pay order Thursday, August 9, against Silay City Vice Mayor Joedith Gallego and 13 other city officials relative to the P18 million computerization project with Systems and Plan Integrator Development Corp. during the term of former Mayor Jose Montelibano.
Suspended with Gallego effective August 9, were City Treasurer Elsie Jimena, City Accountant Emmanuel Arsenal, Assistant General Services Office head Pepito Hechanova Jr., Alma Dela Cruz of the City Civil Registrar, Engineer Sonia Cordero and Engineer Roy Pahilaga of the City Engineer's Office, Joevanie Guzon of the City Planning and Development Office, Executive Assistant 3 Jesus Oppus, Arnie Trajera of the City Budget Office, Jose Genaro Estranero of the City Treasurer's Office, Armin Paredes of the Public Affairs Office, Alore Golez of General Services Office and Vilma Dooma of the Permits and Licensing Office.
They were all members of the City Bids and Awards Committee when the procurement was made.
The suspension against Montelibano and other former city councilors are considered moot and academic since they are no longer in the public office.
In a memorandum, DILG Provincial Director Carmelo Orbista stated that the suspension is relative to the June 28, 2018 Sandiganbayan resolution on the suspension pendent lite to cease and desist from performing the functions and duties as well as receiving or enjoying the salaries, benefits and privileges of their present public positions or any public office they may now hereafter be held for a period of 90 days.
The case against Montelibano and other city officials was filed by Jose Lindy Chan for alleged engaging the procurement without passing through the public bidding.
The other officials were found guilty in conspiracy with Montelibano in violating the anti-graft and corrupt practices for public officials.
The city's first councilor, Atom Ledesma, is now the acting vice mayor while the duties and functions of department heads who were suspended are now performed by their respective assistants, according to Mayor Mark Andrew Golez when asked for a comment.
Some of the suspended employees and officials are reportedly afraid of the possible imprisonment because the Sandiganbayan decision is on the criminal aspect of the case.