Radaza’s suspension

By: Editorial October 30,2015 - 02:57 AM



To her credit, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said she will abide by the Sandiganbayan ruling and serve her 90-day suspension even if she plans to contest it in court.

Then again, it’s not as if she will be out of orbit soon.  Her  vice mayor is an ally from the same camp.  Her political enemies, at least those who are visible, are few and far between.

The  90-day preventive suspension isn’t  a penalty or a final  finding of guilt on her part.  But the stigma would remain.   The freeze order is intended to keep respondents in a graft case from bullying witnesses and tampering with evidence.

In Lapu-Lapu City, Radaza is a force to contend with, so keeping her out of power sends a clear signal that the Ombudsman is not playing favorites.

The latest suspension is fodder for her fiercest critics, like businessman and challenger for the mayorship Efrain Pelaez Jr. who is demanding that she resign ASAP and face the charges.

Pelaez relishes the chance to gloat:  After being passed over by the Liberal Party as their candidate for Lapu-Lapu city,  the “daan matuwid” camp has cause for regret in its choice of standard bearer.

Actually, the Sandiganbayan order confirms that being identified with President Aquino’s party does not bring you immunity from a graft case.

The case at hand involes P15 million in pork barrel funds that were intended for the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP) but were supposedly misused by former congresswoman Clavel Asas-Martinez.

Radaza was the GSP treasurer and a private citizen at the time.

The other suspended persons are  Martinez’s son and Provincial Board Member Celestino “Tining” Martinez III and two Bogo City councilors.

As the unofficial campaign season warms up, Radaza has to hold her breath as well for  the outcome of another case.

The charges filed by the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) in relation to  P2.6 billion in fictitious loans of the Rural Bank of Subangdaku is being heard in a court in Mandaue City.

Radaza was bank president at the time.  Again, the most her PR spokesman could say is that this fraud case did not involve her five-year record as mayor of Lapu-Lapu City.

One would think the two cases alone would sink the chance of any politician to get the Liberal Party’s endorsement.

It didn’t.  Political victory has more pragmatic factors to consider, like an incumbent’s  influence in a locality and ability to win votes.

The Radaza family’s grip on Lapu-Lapu City is so firm that  even followers of Pelaez  jumped ship and joined her team to ensure their political survival.

The election ahead will test, among others, whether voters consider  past ethical conduct  important in selecting a mayor or whether amnesia can be achieved by stellar current performance as a local chief executive.

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TAGS: Cebu, Elections, Girl Scouts of the Philippines, Lapu-Lapu City, Liberal Party, Ombudsman, Paz Radaza, politics, Sandiganbayan

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