THE Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has filed administrative charges against two mayors and a councilor from Pangasinan and Maguindanao for violation of community quarantine protocols.
Charged before the Office of the Ombudsman were the mayor of Sto. Tomas town in Pangasinan, a councilor from the same town, and the mayor of Buluan town in Maguindanao.
The DILG did not name the three officials but the incumbent mayor of Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan is Timoteo Villar III, while the current town mayor of Buluan, Maguindanao is Babydats Mangudadatu.
In May, a video of Villar hosting a birthday party went viral. The party was held in violation of government guidelines against mass gatherings. His councilor-son, Dickerson, uploaded the video online but deleted it later. The video, however, has since resurfaced.
The DILG said the Sto. Tomas executives were held liable “for holding a birthday celebration/mass gathering which violated social distancing and the prevailing curfew.”
On the other hand, the Buluan mayor was charged “after the local executive failed to prohibit mass gatherings in his municipality.”
The DILG said the three were among the local officials who were served show cause orders for non-compliance with the strict stay-home and social distancing directives of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Emerging Diseases (IATF-EID).
“Binusisi po ng maigi ng kagawaran ang mga natanggap na reklamo at ebidensya laban sa ilang local government officials (The department thoroughly went through the complaint and evidence against some local government officials),” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.
Año said the Buluan mayor did not respond to the show cause order, hence he was considered to have waived his right to reply.
As to the local officials of Sto Tomas town, Año said: “Base rin sa kanilang naging sagot sa show cause orders ng DILG ay napag-alamang mayroon silang naging kapabayaan (Based on their reply to the show cause orders of DILG, we established negligence on their part).”
Meanwhile, the DILG sent letters admonishing three local chief executives for other violations – a city mayor from Central Luzon, a town mayor from Western Visayas and a town mayor from Ilocos region.
The Central Luzon city mayor was admonished for a mass gathering during the distribution of cash assistance under the Social Amelioration Program.
The town mayor from Western Visayas was held responsible for refusing to allow an overseas Filipino worker to be quarantined in the town because he came from an “infected country.”
The DILG said the town mayor from Ilocos region was admonished “for unruly behavior towards police officers assigned at a checkpoint and who was alleged to have been intoxicated when it happened.”
The DILG said it is still validating the complaints against a mayor from Cavite and a mayor from Batangas who have been accused of holding mass gatherings during a flag-raising and distribution of relief goods, respectively.
Meanwhile, DILG undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said the DILG has closed its investigation against the governors of Abra, Antique, Bukidnon and Camiguin also for quarantine-related infractions.
The four – Abra Gov. Maria Jocelyn Bernos, Antique Gov. Rhodora Cadiao, Bukidnon Gov. Jose Maria Zubiri Jr. and Camiguin Gov. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo – were earlier served with show cause orders.
The DILG said it was satisfied with the explanations of the governors.“Hence, having found their explanations to be in order, the department has closed its investigation,” Malaya said.
“The DILG will continue to act on complaints received by the public and we will handle the complaints without fear or favor. In first issuing the show cause order, we ensure that due process is observed and that the side of the local chief executive is heard before we make our conclusions,” said Malaya.
The entire seventh floor of the Pasig City hall will be on lockdown for two weeks for disinfection purposes.
Elvira Flores, city human resource office (HRO) head, said city mayor Vico Sotto ordered the lockdown as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. The move was recommended by the city council.
The employees were instructed to work from their homes. – With Christian Oineza