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Sunday, August 01, 2021

Cabahug mother-and-son: We will serve suspension, no crime done

MANDAUE City Councilor Editha Cabahug and her son, Looc Councilman Kevin, said they will comply with the 60-day preventive suspension ordered by the court.

But the officials, together with lawyer Benjamin Cabrido, said they will ask the court to dismiss the criminal complaints against them.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Cabahug maintained she and the other officials involved in the case did not violate any law when they did not grant terminal leave benefits to the complainant, a former councilman.

In 2006, Jesus Jaime Flores filed administrative and criminal complaints against Cabahug, then barangay captain, and seven other barangay officials after they refused to release the leave benefits he was claiming amounting to P148,246.

Cabahug said their decision not to grant the benefits was backed by opinions from the
Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

"We just did our job. If we gave the amount he was demanding, we might be held administratively liable," she said.

In a decision dated Jan. 30, 2015, Mandaue City Regional Trial Court Branch 28 Judge Mercedita Dadole-Ygnacio upheld the order issued by Judge Raphael Yrastorza placing Cabahug and Kevin under preventive suspension.

Judget Dadole-Ygnacio told the Department of Interior and Local Government 7 to implement the order.

Flores, 78, for his part, welcomed the court decision.

"Nagpasalamat ko nga miirog na ang hustisya (I am grateful that the wheels of justice have moved)," he said in a phone interview.

He maintained that he has complied with all the requirements to receive terminal leave benefits.

In 2007, the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas found the barangay officials guilty of oppression and meted them with a six-month suspension. They appealed the decision.

The appeal was denied in 2011, but the suspension could no longer be applied to Cabahug then because she had been elected city councilor a year earlier.

Judge Raphael Yrastorza issued an order placing the officials under preventive suspension for 60 days last Sept. 23, 2013.

But Cabahug and Kevin asked the court to reconsider its decision saying they were not given due process because of the absence of a pre-suspension hearing.

But Judge Dadole-Ygnacio, in her 11-page decision, said a pre-suspension hearing was no longer needed because the two officials participated in a hearing last March 30, 2011 and even entered a “not guilty” plea.

Cabrido, for his part, said the officials did not commit any crime because the CSC and DBM issued a memorandum circular granting leave benefits to barangay officials only in 2004.

Flores served as a councilor from 1989 to 2002.
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