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Ombudsman stops suspension of Quezon town mayor

TIAONG, Quezon, Philippines—The Ombudsman has recalled a 2010 order suspending Tiaong Mayor Roderick Umali, giving the mayor breathing space.

In the ruling dated May 18, 2011, a photocopy of which was obtained by the Inquirer on Friday, the Ombudsman admitted it “relied only on the ex-parte claim” of complainant Expectacion Bautista-Baldeo, a flea market operator in Tiaong, when it ordered the two-month suspension without pay of Umali on Nov. 30, 2010.

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The new order signed by Joaquin Salazar, director of the evaluation and investigation office of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, and approved by acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro, said the complaint against the mayor needed further investigation.

Baldeo alleged in her complaint that Umali closed her flea market inside the town proper without due process. The Ombudsman sided with the complainant and ruled that the mayor abused his power.

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Last week, the Department of Interior and Local Government ordered the enforcement of the suspension order. The mayor immediately filed a motion for reconsideration.

The mayor said he ordered the flea market closed for several reasons, among them the sale of unsanitary meat, absence of a permit to operate and pollution.

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TAGS: Ombudsman, Roderick Umali
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