NOW it can be told. The case filed by Bacolod City Councilor Carl Lopez against Mayor Monico Puentevella and two other city officials was based on hollow grounds and the act in question did not constitute any serious violations. This after the Office of the Ombudsman had junked the complaint lodged against Puentevella, former City Legal Officer Rayfrando Diaz II, Office of the Building Official head Isidro Sun Jr. and his staff. The dismissal of the case has given credence to the decision of Puentevella to temporarily hold the suspension of Sun due to humanitarian reason. Lopez accused Puentevella of violating the Code of Conduct for public officials and employees when the latter opted to remove Sun from OBO "only after the Yuletide."
The mayor claimed that the "delay" in suspending Sun was in consideration of the Christmas season and only on January 1, 2015 that he finally decided to impose the sanction. However, Lopez saw the act as somewhat illegal, which prompted him to charge Puentevella and three others for administrative and criminal offenses. The councilor had insisted that the act was highly questionable and a deliberate disregard of the law. But the Ombudsman had given more weight to the arguments presented by Puentevella and his counsels, which led to the dismissal of the case.
Now, Sun can sleep well without fear of losing his job due to the case. Though, there is still a pending case against him in the court, the Ombudsman decision is a temporary relief for his troubled mind and anxiety. Unfortunately, while he won the case, he couldn't anymore recover the resources, time, and effort that he spent in order to defend himself from the accusation. All he can do is to charge it to experience.
The example set by Capitol officials should be duplicated in every city or town in the province. Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Vice Governor Eugenio Jose "Bong" Lacson have shown that political differences shouldn't get in the way of public service.
Rising above partisan politics for the sake of public welfare should always be the order for government officials. The swift action taken by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, which approved the 2016 annual budget on Wednesday, was testimonial of the inter-department courtesy and respect between the legislative and executive branches of the provincial government.
Lacson, who is seeking reelection, has displayed professionalism in his action. He could have stalled the approval of the budget by meticulously dissecting all supporting documents, but he did not. He could have demanded for detailed budgeting, especially on items with big appropriations, but he seemed to have given more value to cooperation over fiscalization, which made him a very reasonable man, nonetheless. Unluckily, he is up against a strong contender in Fourth District Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer. His being incumbent cannot guarantee him election victory especially that Ferrer is backed by Marañon, who is unopposed.
Fight is on
It's still months away from the start of the campaign but both local and national aspirants are now busy roaming around to promote their candidacies. As they say, the law on official campaign period has long been disregarded by politicians. No one follows it and everybody violates it. It's a pity that the Commission on Elections cannot act on these violations. The poll body has repeatedly admitted that the law on premature campaigning is so vague that they cannot rely on it in running after violators. For this reason, the Philippine election laws must be reviewed and or amended to make it attuned to the current political setting. Otherwise, the mockery will continue.