Rama: No preventive suspensions yet against market office officials over extortion scandal
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he will not yet order preventive suspensions on officials of the Market Operations Division (MOD).
He said that while the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) continues its probe parallel with the city government’s own investigations, the officials of the market division will remain innocent until proven guilty.
The NBI is already looking into the possibility of multiple cohorts to the market assistant who was nabbed for extorting up to P100,000 from Carbon Market vendors.
This drew the concern that corruption was systemic inside the MOD as the suspect may have not been acting on her own accord.
Rama clarified that his administration will not be protecting any official who may be involved in the issue.
“Nobody should be given privilege. Pasabot ana, there should be no sacred cow. If there will be findings, and the guilt is very strong, definitely, I will excercise what I ought to do,” he said.
Rama said he cannot impose a preventive suspension if there is no clear ground to do so, which is why he ordered an investigation on the matter.
“I do not even know who to preemptively suspend. Give me first the findings, because everyone should enjoy due process,” he said.
However, the mayor notes that he has assigned Racquel Arce to oversee the market administration to ensure that these kinds of bogus activities will not continue.
Arce will also be reviewing the performances of all employees under MOD and the market administration for the expected month-long employee evaluation.
She will be ensuring the efficient conduct of all market related services.
The city government is also coordinating with the NBI for the investigation on the alleged extortion cases in the Carbon Market.
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