Malay mayor barred from serving new term
ILOILO CITY, Iloilo, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has barred dismissed Mayor Ciceron Cawaling from serving a new term in Malay town in Aklan province where Boracay Island is located.
In a four-page advisory issued on June 27, Ariel Iglesia, DILG Western Visayas director, said there was a “temporary vacancy” in the post of municipal mayor of Malay because Cawaling had been dismissed by the Ombudsman from service.
Iglesia said Vice Mayor Frolibar Bautista would assume Cawaling’s post as acting mayor.
But Cawaling said he would assume his post because the dismissal order was still not final.
“I was elected and proclaimed as winner in the May 13 elections. There is no electoral protest against me,” he told the Inquirer on Sunday.
Iglesia cited the Ombudsman decision on April 24 dismissing Cawaling from the service for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty and conduct unbecoming of a public official.
The dismissal was in relation to his alleged failure to implement national laws and local ordinances protecting the environment, and regulating construction activities on Boracay Island.
The Ombudsman also ordered the forfeiture of his retirement benefits and perpetual disqualification from government service.
Iglesia said the Ombudsman decision was executory and allowing Cawaling to assume office would make the decision inutile and resurrect the already abandoned Aguinaldo doctrine.
The legal doctrine extinguishes administrative cases filed against any public official during the term immediately after his or her reelection.
The Supreme Court in November 2015 ruled to abandon the doctrine which was first introduced in a ruling in 1959.
DILG Aklan Director Roy Defiño said Cawaling risked incurring criminal and administrative charges if he assumed the post while Bautista could also be held liable for dereliction of duty if he did not assume the position of acting mayor.
In a separate advisory, Iglesia said there was a “permanent vacancy” for the post of mayor in Janiuay town in Iloilo after Mayor-elect Manuel Thomas Franklin Mary Locsin was barred from assuming office.
Locsin has been under hospital arrest since June 3 at the Medical City here.
The Sandiganbayan convicted Locsin and four other former municipal officials on Feb. 23, 2015, after they were found guilty of graft for the purchase of P15 million worth of medicines from two companies that were owned by one person.
The offense carries a penalty of imprisonment from a minimum of six years and one day to a maximum of 10 years and perpetual disqualification from public office.
His conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court on March 20. The high court also ordered the issuance of an entry of judgment in the case.
Iglesia said Vice Mayor Bienvenido Margarico would assume the post of mayor.
Mayor John Lloyd Pacete of Bugasong town in Antique also cannot assume office due to his conviction for a gun violation during the 2016 elections.
On Feb. 27, the Regional Trial Court Branch 64 in Bugasong sentenced Pacete to imprisonment for a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. The court also disqualified him from holding public office and from voting.
Pacete has been detained at the San Jose district jail in the capital town of San Jose since April 26.
Iglesia said Vice Mayor Renante Dava would serve as acting mayor pending the finality of the decision on Pacete’s conviction.
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