By: Fe Marie D. Dumaboc, Nestle L. Semilla June 16,2017 - 11:26 PM

Mayor Teresa P. Alegado

Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado

Because of a complaint involving an alleged unlawful appointment of a department head, Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado finds herself suspended for 90 days.

Jerome Gonzales, provincial director of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Cebu, yesterday said that the mayor’s suspension was served effective last June 9, in compliance to an order from the Sandiganbayan’s Seventh Division.

The graft court’s Seventh Division ordered Alegado’s preventive suspension pending the resolution of a complaint now lodged before the court over the alleged unlawful appointment of Engineer Danilo Capangpangan as the head of the town’s General Services Office.

“Last week, she (Alegado) went to the office and received the copy of the (suspension) order,” Gonzales told reporters yesterday.

With Alegado’s suspension, first Councilor Joannes Alegado, the mayor’s son, assumed as acting mayor in place of Vice Mayor Aurelio Damole who is currently on a foreign trip, Gonzales said.

Damole will assume as acting mayor of the town when he returns to Cebu next week, while the young Alegado will slide down to acting vice mayor.

The suspension was implemented after the Sandiganbayan’s decision last April to deny the mayor’s motion for reconsideration on her suspension has become final and executory, Gonzales said.

In January this year, the Office of the Ombudsman recommended placing the mayor under preventive suspension, which was granted by the Sandiganbayan on Feb. 28, 2017.

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier filed a case against Alegado before the Sandiganbayan for the unlawful appointment of Capangpangan as the town’s General Services officer in 2011 even if he has no degree in public administration, which is a requirement for the position. Alegado, the Ombudsman said, was found liable for violation of Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code.

Sandiganbayan Seventh Division Justices Alexander Gesmundo, Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta and Zaldy Trespeses, in their Feb. 28, 2017 ruling, said, “Once this order shall have become final and executory, the Honorable Secretary of the Department of Local Government shall be informed thereof so that he can immediately implement this Order and notify this Court of the date the accused started serving her suspension pendente lite and the date of its termination.”

With the Sandiganbayan’s decision to deny the mayor’s motion for reconsideration, the DILG immediately transmitted the court’s ruling to its regional office. DILG Central Visayas Director Rene Burdeos, in turn, issued an order on May 29, 2017 for the implementation of the suspension.

Lawyer Christian Bacus, legal counsel of Alegado, said they welcomed the preventive suspension as a chance to clear the mayor’s name.

No plan to contest

He said the mayor has no plan to contest the suspension and has readily decided to vacate her post to serve her suspension.

But Bacus stressed that the mayor immediately withdrew Capangpangan’s suspension the moment she realized that it was not allowed on Civil Service Commission rules.

In fact, he said Capangpangan was immediately assigned back to his original position as the municipal government’s project development officer 1 when a case was filed against the mayor over his appointment.

The complaint lodged before the Ombudsman against the mayor was filed by an Arlene Panoncillo sometime in the late 2012 and investigated by the anti-graft body in 2013.

The Ombudsman later ruled in favor of the complaint, noting that Capangpangan’s appointment was invalidated by the Civil Service Commission because he did not meet the educational and experience requirements for the position.

The position requires a graduate of public administration, but Capangpangan only have units in public administration, Bacus affirmed.

“However, right after the CSC niingon sa ilahang qualification, wala dayona ni Mayor Alegado pag appoint ni Engineer Capangpangan,” Bacus said.

(However, right after the CSC ruled about Capangpangan’s lack of qualification, Mayor Alegado did not push through with appointing Engineer Capangpangan to the post.)

Not necessary

According to Bacus, they had long expected that the preventive suspension will be implemented against the mayor.

But, he said, they believed placing the mayor under preventive suspension was no longer necessary since they are now waiting for the court’s decision on the criminal case against Alegado.

Under the law, once a local official undergoes investigation, it is a matter of standard operating procedure that the official will be on preventive suspension to avoid exercising undue influence to personnel under her supervision that could jeopardize the conduct of the investigation.

However, Bacus said, “Na-defeat ang purpose sa preventive suspension because there is nothing to prevent. The purpose of preventive suspension is to prevent undue influence on the part of the accuse. Human na man ang investigation submitted na siya for decision,” Bacus said.

(The purpose of preventive suspension was defeated because there is nothing to prevent. The purpose of a preventive suspension is to prevent undue influence on the part of the accused. The investigation was already completed and the case is already submitted for decision.)

Bacus said that by deciding not to contest the suspension, Alegado has opted to just wait for the Sandiganbayan’s decision on the case, which they hoped will be issued before the end of her 90-day suspension.

Bacus said that they have a “remedy” that they could argue before the Sandiganbayan, but he said they chose to accept the suspension.

“Although we wanted to question the timeliness sa pag-impose, kuyawan man sad ta nga maguba ug magkayagaw unya ang administration sa public service diha sa Consolacion,” Bacus said.

(Although we wanted to question the timeliness of the suspension, we are also worried that it will affect the delivery of public service rendered by the current administration in Consolacion.)

According to Bacus, Alegado’s camp is optimistic that the decision on the case will be out before the end of the three-month preventive suspension.

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TAGS: 90, Alegado, Consolacion, days, for, mayor, suspended

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