THE Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the one-year suspension of Vice Mayor Santiago Maravillas of Escalante City, Negros Occidental for abuse of authority.
The Ombudsman, in a statement released Thursday, said the vice mayor was found guilty of two counts of abuse of authority/oppression during his stint as acting mayor in 2016.
In December 2015, Maravillas assumed the mayoral post after then mayor Melecio Yap Jr., now First District Representative, was suspended for 90 days, along with three other officials, for the disbursement of travel funds for some councilors in 2008 and 2009.
The latest Ombudsman order said Maravillas, then acting mayor, has terminated the services of contractual employees Florencio Lauron and Francisca Pabuaya, occupying the positions of Heavy Equipment Operator II and Administrative Aide II, respectively.
Maravillas issued a termination letter on January 12, 2016 to Lauron while Pabuaya was excluded from the payroll beginning on January 1, 2016, the statement said.
The Ombudsman said Maravillas’ move was an abuse of authority.
“Respondent’s act of terminating the services of complainants [Lauron and Pabuaya] without cause and without due process is a clear display of excessive use of authority,” it said.
The Ombudsman explained that the act of summarily dismissing complainants violates Section 36 (a), Article IX of Presidential Decree No. 807 (Civil Service Decree of the Philippines) and Section 46, Chapter 7, Title I, subtitle a, Book V of Executive Order No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987) which both provide in part [that] no officer or employee in the Civil Service shall be suspended or dismissed except for cause as provided by law and after due process.
The Ombudsman directed the Interior Secretary to implement the order.