Dismissed Antique exec on hunger strike

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ILOILO CITY—A dismissed official of the Antique provincial government is on his third day of hunger strike to protest his nonreinstatement by Gov. Exequiel Javier.

Eric Otayde, 49, has being taking only biscuits and water since Friday at a tent in front of the provincial capitol at the capital town of San Jose in Antique.

“I am doing this because Governor Javier has refused to abide by the decisions of the court and the Civil Service Commission (CSC). He refuses to implement the orders just like that,” Otayde told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.

A diabetic, Otayde also sustains himself with candies to normalize his blood sugar level. A nurse monitors his condition nightly. Supporters and friends have flocked to his tent since Friday.

Otayde has been calling on Javier to implement the decision of the CSC regional office dated May 11, 2011, ordering his reinstatement as an employee of the provincial government after it determined his dismissal was illegal. The decision had been affirmed by the CSC national office in separate resolutions on June 27, 2012, and Jan. 7, 2013.

But Javier said the CSC order to reinstate Otayde as information officer IV was defective and could not be implemented because the position was already occupied.

He said the position became vacant and was filled up when Otayde was promoted to deputy head of the public information office during the administration of former Gov. Salvacion Zaldivar-Perez.

“The person occupying the position now also enjoys security of tenure. How can I reinstate [Otayde]?” Javier asked. “The [CSC] has to resolve this problem first,” he told the Inquirer.

Javier has filed a petition for review against the CSC decision in the 20th Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) in Cebu. The CA has directed the CSC and Otayde to file their comment but the appellate court has denied the governor’s petition for a temporary restraining order against the reinstatement order.

Otayde was designated as information officer IV in 2005 under the administration of Perez. He was subsequently assigned as assistant provincial head of the provincial public information office at the provincial capitol in San Jose.

But shortly after Javier assumed office in July 2010, the governor assigned Otayde, who was closely identified with Perez, to the provincial satellite office in Culasi town, about 92 kilometers north of San Jose.

Javier ordered the dismissal from service of Otayde on August 2010, claiming that Otayde’s appointment was coterminus with Perez’s term of office.  Otayde subsequently questioned his termination before the CSC.

The CSC regional office on May 11, 2011, ordered Otayde’s reinstatement to his previous position as information officer IV and the payment of back wages and benefits.

Otayde said his unpaid wages and benefits amount to at least P1.2 million.

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