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Suspension order vs Rama, 7 others not yet final – DILG-7

By: Pia Piquero - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | May 11,2024 - 05:20 AM

rama suspension

DILG-7 Director Leocadio Trovela posted the memorandum of the suspension order on the main door of the City Assessor’s Office on Friday, May 10. | CDN Photo/ Pia Piquero

CEBU CITY, Philippines— A confusing turn of events occurred at the Cebu City Hall on Friday, May 10, involving the serving of the suspension order to Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and seven other city officials.

At 11:30 a.m., the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Central Visayas arrived at the city hall to serve the Rama suspension order from the Office of the Ombudsman dated May 2, 2024.

Apart from Rama, the other respondents of the suspension order are lawyer Collin Rossell, Maria Theresa Rossell, Francis May Jacaban, Angelique Cabugao, Jay-Ar Pescante, Lester Joey Beniga, and Nelyn Sanrojo.

However, several offices and authorities refused to receive and acknowledge the document.

The reason was that they had no authority to receive it or were not the right office to receive it.


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Is politics behind Rama’s suspension order?

Despite the option for DILG-7 to serve the suspension order even if the city hall staff refused to receive it, similar to what happened during Rama’s 2015 suspension, they chose to exhaust all avenues with various offices involved.

However, they were unsuccessful until they reached the City Assessor’s Office.

Staff from the said office still refused to receive the document, which prompted the DILG-7 Director Leocadio Trovela to resort to the last option, which was to post the order on the main door of the city assessor’s office at 12:40 p.m.

The memorandum posted at the office of the city assessors indicated the implementation of the order dated May 2, 2024, from the Office of the Ombudsman entitled: ‘FILOMENA. ATUEL, ET AL. VS. MICHAEL L. RAMA, ET AL.’ (all of Local Government of Cebu City).

“In the subject Order, the Office of the Ombudsman placed respondents Michael L. Rama, City Mayor; Collin E. Rosell, City Administrator; Maria Theresa C, Rosell, Officer-in-Charge, Office of the City Assessor; Francis May L. Jacaban, Designated Assistant Department Head (Administration/Legal Officer); Angelique B. Cabugao, Designated Assistant Department Head (Operations); Jay-Ar B. Pescante, Designated Administrative Division Head; Lester Joey O. Beniga, Designated Assessment of Records Management Division Head and Nelyn P. Sanrojo, Designated Computer Division Head all of Local Government of Cebu City, under preventive suspension until the administrative adjudication on this case is terminated, but not to exceed six (6) months, without pay, except when the delay in the disposition of the case is due to their fault, negligence or petition, in which case the period of delay shall not be counted in computing the period of preventive suspension.,” read an excerpt from the memorandum.

It further stated, “Considering that said Order is immediately executory, you are hereby directed to cause the immediate implementation of the aforesaid Ombudsman Order upon respondents Michael L. Rama, Collin E. Rosell, Maria Theresa C. Rosell, Francis May L. Jacaban, Angelique B. Cabugao, Jay-Ar B. Pescante, Lester Joey O. Beniga, Nelyn P. Sanjoro.”

However, moments after the said serving of the suspension order in the City Assessor’s Office, things took another twist.

In an interview with Trovela, he stated that what they did was not the final serving of the suspension order but just a “notification” about the suspension.

He said that they intended to hand and serve the suspension order personally, but since the involved individuals were not present, he said they would just come back.

Trovela also said that they would convene with their legal committee and decide on the mode of serving  the suspension order.

Trovela further mentioned that as of May 10, “no one has been served with a suspension order.”


NFA officials’ suspension over rice deal a stern warning – DA

On May 2, the Ombudsman made its decision over the administrative case filed by four City Hall employees – Filomena Atuel, Maria Almicar Dionggzon, Sybil Ann Ybañez, and Chito Dela Cerna – against Rama and some officers. The complaint was filed last April.

In an eight-page resolution, Ombudsman Samuel Martires said they found sufficient grounds to put Rama and several City Hall executives under preventive suspension for grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a public officer and conduct prejudicial to the best interest among others.

According to Martires, there is ‘strong evidence’ showing the respondents of their guilt and the charges lodged against them.

Atuel, Diongzon, Ybañez, and Dela Cerna sought the Ombudsman’s assistance over the city government’s failure to pay their salaries for 10 months.

It stemmed from the city government’s decision to reassign them to new roles in what the complainants described as acts of oppression and discrimination./ with reports from Morexette Marie Erram

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TAGS: DILG-7, Rama, suspension

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