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Lucena mayor bids farewell; city employees restive

By

Barbara Ruby Talaga DELFIN T. MALLARI JR./INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

LUCENA CITY—Ousted Mayor Barbara Ruby Talaga (Lakas-Kampi) wiped tears as she bid farewell to City Hall employees after a Supreme Court ruling unseated her last week for an invalid candidacy and paved the way for her replacement by Vice Mayor Roderick Alcala (Liberal Party).

“This might be my last attendance in the flag-raising ceremony. But this is not the end. I swear, we will be coming back,” Talaga said. Her husband, former Lucena Mayor Ramon Talaga Jr. (UNA), will clash with Alcala for the mayoral post in next year’s election.

Ironically, the Talagas once stood as Alcala’s wedding sponsors in civil and church rites.

With the mayor’s departure from office, over 800 contractual workers of City Hall may lose their jobs starting January next year.

Records from the city human resources department placed the number of employees under “job order” category at 856 and those on casual status at 13. All of their work contracts will expire on December 31.

Each of them had already received a P15,000 Christmas bonus last week.

Some female employees said they would appeal to be retained at their posts. “I will surely be axed from my job because of my affiliation with the Talagas,” said one employee, who requested that his name be withheld.

When reached by phone, Alcala said all appointments and performance of every contractual worker would be thoroughly reviewed to determine who should be retained and terminated.

“My first order upon my assumption will be a thorough inventory of government properties,” he said.

“I’m ready to be relieved from my post. I would like to invite him (Alcala) here and hand him the key to the city as symbol of our formal turn-over,” Talaga told reporters. But she made it clear that she will only leave after receiving all documents, including a writ of execution from the Supreme Court attached to the order from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The writ is needed to pave the way for a smooth and unquestionable transition of power, explained Adelma Mauleon, newly designated chief of DILG-Lucena.


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