January 24, 2018, 9:42 am
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Former Escalante City vice mayor suspended anew

FORMER Escalante City vice mayor Santiago Maravillas has earned the distinction of being suspended from office twice, even if he is no longer holding a government post.

In September 2017, the Office of the Ombudsman ordered Maravillas suspended for nine months after finding him guilty of oppression for illegally terminating the employment of a livestock inspector under the City Veterinarian’s Office on January 6, 2016.

Maravillas was only able to do so because he was appointed acting mayor at the time in place of City Mayor Melecio Yap Jr. who was serving a three-month suspension order imposed by the Ombudsman for alleged mishandling of public funds.

The two ran against each other in the May 2016 elections for the First Congressional District of Negros Occidental which Yap won by a wide margin.

In an order released this week, the Ombudsman ordered Maravillas suspended over two counts of abuse of authority and oppression. This time the penalty was for a longer period of one year.

Investigators said Maravillas terminated the services of contractual employees Francisca Pabuaya and Florencio Lauron without basis on January 1 and 12, 2016, respectively, during his stint as acting mayor.

Lauron was then serving as heavy equipment operator II while Pabuaya was an administrative aide II.

“Respondent’s act of terminating the services of complainants without cause and without due process is a clear display of excessive use of authority.  The act of summarily dismissing complainants violates {provisions) of Presidential Decree No. 807 or the Civil Service Decree of the Philippines and Executive Order No. 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987,” the Ombudsman said.

Under the rules, a suspension order against a public official may be converted to a fine equivalent to respondent’s six months’ salary if he has been separated from service due to retirement, resignation, termination or completion of his term.
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