OUTGOING Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella said Wednesday, June 22, that the month-long suspension issued against him by the Office of the Ombudsman is already "moot and academic," as he is set to step down from office eight days from now.
Puentevella's term will end on June 30 after he lost to outgoing Representative Evelio Leonardia in the May 9 elections.
The Ombudsman found him guilty for simple misconduct for delaying the implementation of administrative suspension against two city building personnel. The suspension order was signed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.
READ: Ombudsman suspends outgoing Bacolod mayor
This is the second time Puentevella has been ordered suspended in a span of seven months.
The first was the 90-day suspension ordered by anti-graft court Sandiganbayan from November 16, 2015 to February 14, 2016 for the alleged anomalous procurement of computer packages worth P26 million funded by his Priority Development Assistance Fund when he was still congressman of Bacolod.
Puentevella said he has yet to receive a copy of the suspension order, and refused to comment further.
In July 2014, the Ombudsman ordered the suspension of building official Isidro Sun Jr. and building inspector Jose Maria Makilan after finding them guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
On December 9, 2014, Puentevella received a directive from the Ombudsman to implement the suspension order but in reply, the local chief executive issued a letter insisting that "in the spirit of Christmas, the effectivity of the order against the officials being suspended is set on January 1, 2015."
The ruling stated that the decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman are "immediately effective and executory" and that "there is nothing vague or ambiguous with this wording."
Morales said that Puentevella has no authority to move the time of suspension since "neither RA (Republic Act) 6770 nor the issuances of the [Ombudsman] authorize a head of office or agency to schedule a different date for the effectivity of the decision." (With reports from Sunnex)