UNLESS the mayor and the municipal councilors of Tuburan know a better law than the one I am reading, there is no way that they can suspend another councilor for supposed “misbehavior”.

The Local Government Code enumerates the grounds on which an elective local official may be disciplined, suspended or removed from office. Misbehavior is not one of them.

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The Code does include misconduct in office as a ground but I doubt whether “grabbing” the microphone from the municipal mayor during a council session constitutes one. In this era when even heads of state are clobbered or thrown a pair of shoes at, a contrary view is myopic and unenlightened.

Secondly, the Municipal Council has no power to investigate and punish its member. The law is very clear that a complaint against any municipal elective official shall be filed with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Finally, the Code absolutely prohibits any administrative investigation of an elective official within 90 days immediately prior to any local election and no preventive suspension shall be imposed within the same period.

The affected councilor, Marie Tabotabo, must have been a pain in the behind of the Tuburan mayor which is why the majority councilors were in a hurry to punish her. But they grossly underestimated her. Tabotabo is a former activist who will not go down quickly. In fact, they have only succeeded in making her a martyr and her re-election easier.

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I never thought that the Aniceto Canturias whom I wrote about last Wednesday as owner of the PR and research firm The Campaigns & Image Group is the Abbey Canturias whom my law office represented in a criminal case for libel filed by former environment secretary Antonio Cerilles more than 10 years ago.

Abbey wrote me yesterday in reaction to that piece and said that he owns only one third of the company which has “technically” foreign partners whom he did not however name. Therefore the US $2.5 million income that his company reported is not entirely his. Still US $800,000 is a lot of money.

He did not deny that his group did PR work for Erap Estrada in both the latter’s successful runs for the vice presidency and the presidency. “I’m a patriot and the activist in me still lives on. I understand that who we vote for president and how we vote are equally important,” he wrote.

Canturias described Noynoy Aquino as a “wimp,” “inane or vacuous, and either vapid or dull.” He was certain that Noynoy’s “slide is irreversible.” Manny Villar is leading him by 9 percentage points according to his survey, Canturias said.

He reserved his kindest words for Teodoro, who, he said, is only 5 percentage points behind Aquino. Teodoro, according to him, may be underrated and underestimated but he “is the man to watch.”

“The international community roots for him and is ready to roll the barrel out,” he said. He did not define “international community” but I take that to mean the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Japan and all the rest of the industrialized world.

He also said that Teodoro has friends among senior colonels and flag officers who silently plot his moves and chart the course of his machinery around the political twists, turns, and bends.

Wow, Abbey really knows a lot. Move over, Pulse Asia and Social Weather Station.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)