ANGELES CITY -- Mayor Francis “Blueboy” Nepomuceno said the City Government will continue to recognize Sonny Lao as the village chief of Barangay Pulung Maragul here even without formal directive from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Earlier, the DILG installed Joseph Dimapilis as the Barangay Pulung Maragul chief after the Court of Appeals (CA) issued a permanent injunction against the June 23, 2009 decision of Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Victor Fernandez dismissing all village council members Dimapilis, Dominador Gerilla, Leo Kintanar, Jesus Cortez, Orlando Lobo, Leo Ancheta, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairman Jomar Cortez, council secretary Lourdes Laluces, and council treasurer Evert Briones for grave misconduct.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Included in the case was the late barangay chief Edilberto Cayanan who was shot dead by a lone gunman early last year. The case against him was dismissed.

Dimapilis became the barangay chief after Cayanan's death. But the DILG office in this city implemented the order of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon and installed councilman Sonny Lao as the new village chief.

The dismissed village officials sought an injunction from the CA, which issued a favorable decision preventing the implementation an ombudsman order. The DILG here re-installed Dimapilis as village chief.

But Lao, vacating the barangay hall, refused to yield his functions as village chief.

As of Sunday, Lao continues to perform his duties as village chief.  He even told Sun.Star Pampanga that he will continue to function as such, including issuance of documents and certifications.

Nepomuceno said the City Government here still recognizes Lao as Pulung Maragul village chief as there is no order yet from the DILG to recognize Dimapilis, revoking the installation of Lao.

“We are recognizing him (Lao) as village chief,” Nepomuceno said. He said they would act on the issue as soon as the DILG orders are given regarding the matter.

Dimapilis, for his part, vowed to file charges of usurpation of authority against Lao for occupying the Pulung Maragul Multi-Purpose building at Don Bonifacio Subdivision since January 7.

Dimapilis, a known supporter of mayoralty aspirant Secretary Edgardo Pamintuan, has vowed to also file charges against Nepomuceno, who is seeking re-election.

He said Nepomuceno’s decision to continue recognizing Lao as village chief “creates confusion” in the village.

Nepomuceno, on the other hand, said they are only following procedure so as not to fall victim to legal backlash.

He said Lao was also installed as village chief and therefore the DILG should also act on the matter.

“It is easy to put us in the crossfire,” Nepomuceno said. (Ian Ocampo Flora)