DILG slaps show-cause order vs Tuguegarao City mayor

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    A SHOW-cause order will be issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) against the mayor of Tuguegarao City for his absence in the city during the onslaught of typhoon Ulysses last week.

    Interior undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said the DILG will file an administrative case against Mayor Jefferson Soriano if he fails to properly justify his absence.

    Soriano, a retired police general, was in Batangas with his family to celebrate his birthday when typhoon Ulysses hit Tuguegarao City. His daughter, former model and entrepreneur Bea Soriano-Dee, posted on social media a photo of them together while in Batangas.

    Netizens have criticized Soriano for abandoning his constituents, choosing to be in Batangas while they were battered by Ulysses.

    Tuguegarao City was among the many areas in Cagayan province that were severely flooded by Ulysses which made several landfalls in Quezon.

    Soriano has admitted going to Batangas but said he was authorized by Gov. Manuel Mamba to leave the city. Also, he noted that the province was not covered by any signal warning when he left.

    Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has previously issued a memorandum to all local government chief executives to be in their localities during storms or any weather disturbances to make sure that they can easily respond when emergencies happen.

    “Everyone knew that there is a coming typhoon. As early as November 9, we issued directives to all LGUs (local government units) in entire Luzon to prepare for the typhoon but he still left, he’s not in his area,” said Malaya.

    Malaya said it was unfortunate that he left Tuguegarao despite the coming typhoon to celebrate his birthday.

    “In deference to him, as an elected local government official, we will give due him due process. We’ll ask him to explain. He will have to give us the circumstances because we’re hearing different stories. Some said he left Cagayan as early as Sunday, some said its Thursday,” said Malaya.

    “We’re going to establish the circumstances and determine if his explanation is acceptable.

    Otherwise, he will be found in violation of (the) Oplan Listo protocol of the DILG,” Malaya said of Soriano.

    If the DILG establishes there was negligence, misconduct, or dereliction of duty on the part of Soriano, Malaya said the department will not hesitate to file the necessary charges against the mayor before the Office of the Ombudsman.

    If found guilty by the Ombudsman, Soriano may be suspended, dismissed or perpetually disqualified from public office.

    Meanwhile, in a press briefing in Cagayan, Año said: “In Region II (Cagayan Valley), we accounted all the LCEs (local chief executives), except for one, there is one missing from Isabela. We will let him explain.”