THERE are now two village chiefs in Barangay Mambaling in Cebu City.
This after village chief and lawyer Gines Abellana refused to vacate his post despite a 24-month suspension order issued against him by the Cebu City Council on Wednesday, Jan. 9.
As Abellana contemplates his legal options, his replacement, Barangay Mambaling Councilor Anne Marie Vestil Palomo, already took her oath of office before Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña on Thursday, Jan. 10.
The Cebu City Council ordered Abellana’s suspension for not releasing the honorarium of Palomo and three other barangay councilors from July to December last year.
Tensions almost escalated at the barangay hall in Mambaling on Friday, Jan. 11, after Palomo insisted that Abellana should reopen the village treasurer’s office after padlocking it for eight days.
In an interview, Abellana said he refused to vacate his post until the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issues a suspension order against him.
“I won’t step down. Even the DILG said I shouldn’t step down. She (Palomo) can’t do anything about it. She will have to wait for the DILG’s decision,” Abellana said in Cebuano.
Abellana said even if Palomo took her oath as acting village chief, it does not qualify her for the post.
“Her (Palomo) taking oath as barangay captain does not even qualify her to act as barangay captain. The decision of the City Council to suspend me should be served by the DILG. She (Palomo) should have sought that but she didn’t so the suspension against me shouldn’t take effect,” Abellana added.
Palomo, in a separate interview, said her assumption as acting village chief was a consequence of the suspension order against Abellana.
She denied Abellana’s claim that she was power hungry and was after his post.
“I think that statement is misplaced. He (Abellana) committed a wrongdoing and abused his authority by withholding our honoraria. It is only a natural remedy and a right for us to question his action through a disciplinary case. Where is the hunger for power there?” Palomo added.
Separately, DILG Cebu City acting chief Emma Joyevelyn Calvo said they will forward Abellana’s case to their legal office to determine if there is anything illegal in the City Council’s order to suspend him.
Calvo admitted that they have yet to receive a copy of the suspension order issued by the City Council against Abellana.
She also clarified that it will not be up to their office to implement the suspension order.
“If the suspension order was issued by the City Council, they should implement it and they will only provide us with a copy,” Calvo said.
The City or Municipal Council has direct jurisdiction in disciplining barangay officials who commit administrative violations, Calvo added.
Abellana, who is allied with the opposition Barug PDP-Laban, was suspended by members of the majority bloc of the City Council, who are allied with Mayor Tomas Osmeña. USJ-R Interns Kiziah Marie T. Suello And Jolissa Mae Taboada / PAC of Superbalita Cebu / JKV