Nueva Vizcaya governor fires 350 appointees of predecessor

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BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya— On her first day in office,

Gov. Ruth Padilla dismissed and demoted at least 350 provincial employees appointed by her predecessor and political rival.

Padilla issued Executive Order (EO) No. 3, which “revoked, withdrew and recalled” appointments made by former Gov. Luisa Cuaresma for alleged violations of the Local Government Code (LGC), the Omnibus Election Code and civil service rules.

The order, which will take effect immediately, referred to Cuaresma’s appointments, composed of employees’ promotions and filling up of vacant and entry-level positions, most of which had been affirmed by the Civil Service Commission.

Padilla said she nullified their work papers because these were made with a defectively constituted personnel selection board (PSB), in violation of Section 80 of the LGC.

It also covers appointments falling within the 45-day ban before the May 13 elections, and those made between Election Day and until Cuaresma left office on June 30.

Lawyer Leslie Costales, the provincial legal officer under the Cuaresma administration, declined to comment pending the implementation of Padilla’s order.

Padilla and Cuaresma ran under rival parties in the

May 13 polls. The new governor’s husband, Rep. Carlos Padilla, won his reelection against the former governor who served for three terms from 2004 to 2013.

Governor Padilla’s order, however, left many employees guessing whether they were covered, as it did not specify the names of those whose appointments were revoked or withdrawn.

It did not also state the details how the appointments violated provisions of the laws.

But lawyer Voltaire Garcia, provincial legal officer, said the EO was “very clear.”

“Just by reading the order, an employee can already determine if he [or she] is covered or not,” he said.

For one, Garcia said many of the appointments were void because these went through a PSB that was not created from a resolution passed by the provincial board.

“It appears that the last SP (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) resolution that created the PSB was passed in 2005,” he said.

“If they (affected employees) do not agree with the order, they have every right to question it,” he added.

Garcia, however, said Padilla and her advisers had yet to determine which appointments were nullified by the EO and how many were affected. “But we will eventually notify them, as part of due process,” he said. Melvin Gascon, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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