THE Department of Interior and Local Government has filed administrative charges against 10 town mayors for their failure to clear roads and highways of obstruction in their areas and return them to public use.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año implied that more local chief executives will be charged before the Office of the Ombudsman for gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct.
“This is just the first batch of cases to be filed and we will file the succeeding batches as soon as our lawyers have finished reviewing the validation reports and the corresponding answers by the mayors,” said Año.
Charged were the mayors of Baco, Oriental Mindoro (Reynaldo Marco); Pili, Camarines Sur (Tomas Bongalonta Jr); Ginatilan, Cebu (Dean Michael Singco), Pagsanghan, Samar (Edgar Tan); Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur (Boen Dorotheo Cabahug ); Lapuyan, Zamboanga del Sur (Joel Sulong); Sagay, Camuigin (Joseph Uwayan); Guinsiliban, Camuigin (Helenio Abecia); Manticao, Misamis Oriental (Antonio Baculio); and Caraga, Davao Oriental (Alicia Mori).
Año urged the Ombudsman to act swiftly on the complaint to send the message that government is serious in bringing back for public use roads and highways being used by private individuals.
“We hope that the Ombudsman will act on our complaint with dispatch and urgency,” said Año.
Año said the mayors were given reasonable time to comply with the DILG’s memorandum circular to clear the roads in their jurisdiction of obstruction. The circular was issued in line with President Duterte’s directive during his State of the Nation Address in July last year for the DILG to lead road-clearing operations and file charges against local chief executives if warranted.
“These first batch of mayors failed to perform their duty to clear their roads of obstructions, they did not develop or implement any displacement program or plan, they do not have any long-term rehabilitation and sustainability plan in place, and they failed to set up a feedback or grievance mechanism for their constituents; hence, we are compelled to seek their suspension from office,” said Año.
“We were not joking when we said before that we are prepared to file charges (against local chief executives). We took very seriously President Duterte’s order for the DILG to lead the road clearing efforts and file cases vs non-compliant LGUs, if need be,” Año said.
Año said the 10 local government units whose mayors were charged administratively have registered “the lowest validation scores through the stringent nationwide evaluation and monitoring of the DILG.”
Last October, the DILG issued show cause orders to 97 local government units, seeking their explanation for their non-compliance with the DILG circular to clear the roads of obstructions based on initial assessment and validation.
DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya said the agency will soon issue a new directive for a new 75-day road clearing operation.
“We noticed that some of the obstructions have returned and the LGUs have done nothing to stop their return especially during the holidays,” said Malaya.