Anti-Red Tape Authority files raps against Batangas mayor

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    THE Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) yesterday filed criminal and administrative complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman against San Nicolas, Batangas Mayor Lester de Sagun.

    ARTA director general Jeremiah B. Belgica and deputy director general Ernesto V. Perez sought De Sagun’s indictment for violations of RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 and RA 11032 or the Law Promoting Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Delivery of Government Services.

    The complaint was based on a letter sent by one Gertrudes Gahol, a resident of San Nicolas, Batangas who sought ARTA’s assistance over the inaction of the respondent to her application for a building permit despite having submitted all the documentary requirements.

    Pending completion of its investigation, the ARTA asked the Ombudsman to place the mayor under preventive suspension.

    According to ARTA, Municipal Engineer Guillermo Matienzo informed Gahol that the Certificate of Final Electrical Inspection has been forwarded to the Mayor’s Office since July 3, 2019 in light of a protocol requiring that all permits and relevant documents should undergo final review under it.

    In his reply dated September 11, 2019 to the inquiry from ARTA on behalf of Gahol, De Sagun said his office has no authority to approve the replacement/upgrading of transformer.

    However, ARTA said Municipal Local Government Operations Office Diosdado Larosa, in a letter attached to the complaint, quoted Matienzo as saying that the mayor told her that regardless of consequences, he is not inclined to release the said documents.

    The ARTA noted that Section 60 (c) of the Local Government Code provides grounds for disciplinary actions against local executives including dishonesty, oppression, misconduct in office, gross negligence or dereliction of duty as well as abuse of authority.

    It pointed out that disciplinary sanctions may include suspension or even removal from office.