Panglao mayor’s office ‘cemented’ to keep DILG-appointed exec out
PANGLAO, Bohol – Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Bohol conducted an investigation on Wednesday after the mayor’s office of Panglao town in Bohol was cemented on Saturday afternoon to prevent the entry of Mayor Pedro Fuertes.
Fuertes was holding office at the town hall lobby on Wednesday after he took shelter in a nipa hut in front of the town’s gymnasium which served as his office for two days.
Lawyer Glenn Damasing of NBI-Bohol said Fuertes asked for their assistance to launch an investigation.
Damasing said that the door leading to the office of Fuertes was cemented to permanently sealed it.
Agents had to use the Sangguniang Bayan session hall at the other end of the building to enter the office.
Some items in the office were reportedly lost, including a TV set, three tables, three computers, documents and P500,000 cash owned by Fuertes.
“As standard operating procedure, we took a copy of the CCTV footage to determine who took out the items,” said Damasing.
Fuertes said that sealing his office to prevent him from working would not ease the tension since he was still recognized as the executive of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). Fuertes said that on Saturday, Oct. 20, some unidentified men broke the office’s glass door and sealed it with cement and hollow blocks.
The incident happened four days after the Court of Appeals (CA) ordered the reinstatement of embattled Mayor Leonila Paredes-Montero.
Fuertes recalled a similar incident where biometric machines were forcibly pried from their location reportedly in the presence of two police officers.
Fuertes and Montero both claimed they are the mayor of the town.
The DILG installed Fuertes, the town’s vice mayor, as acting mayor after the Ombudsman ordered a three-month suspension of Montero on Oct. 24, 2017, for simple misconduct for appointing four defeated candidates less than a year after losing in the elections –violating the one-year ban on the appointment of a candidate who lost in the election.
But even before completing the three-month suspension, the anti-graft office upgraded the charge to grave misconduct and ordered her dismissal from service on Jan. 19, 2018.
Montero sought relief from the Court of Appeals which later issued an order on June 28 that affirmed her three-month suspension and set aside her dismissal from service.
Since she had served her suspension, Montero said she could already resume her functions as mayor. Montero returned to office on Sept. 10 even without the DILG order.
Last week, the Court of Appeals ordered her reinstatement.
According to municipal local government operations officer Sofronio Abing, Jr., the CA decision was forwarded to the DILG Central Office for information and guidance.
“[Until now] No official position yet from the Department,” he said.
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