Gov charged with violating ease of doing business law
The Anti-Red Rape Authority (Arta) on Thursday charged Camarines Norte Gov. Edgardo Tallado before the Office of the Ombudsman with violating the ease of doing business law.
During their filing, Arta turned over the results of their preliminary investigation, which stemmed from a private complaint.
Said complaint was filed by a certain Henry Zabala against Tallado.
According to Zabala, for more than a year, his application for a quarry permit remained unacted upon.
“Complainant Zabala was never notified nor informed why he is not yet being issued a permit,” Arta said in its complaint.
According to Arta, on Aug. 5 Zabala filed a complaint with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission, which then endorsed the matter to Arta for comment and appropriate action.
On Aug. 16, Arta directed Tallado to submit an explanation on why the local government has not acted upon Zabala’s request.
In his Aug. 23 response, Tallado said that upon receipt of the recommendation from the Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board on Nov. 12, 2018, he received an opposition to Zabala’s quarry permit application.
However, Arta general director Jeremiah Belgica said Tallado should have denied the application, instead of letting it stand unresolved.
Tallado was charged with violating Sections 21 (d) and 21 (e) of Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
Under the new law, the failure of a local government unit to give an applicant or a requesting party a written notice on the disapproval of an application or request is punishable. Meanwhile, the failure to render government services within the prescribed processing time on any application, “without due cause” is also grounds for penalties.
The ease of doing business law has a two-strike policy, wherein an official who committed his first offense will be charged with administrative liability and a corresponding six months suspension.
Meanwhile, on the second offense, there will be an administrative liability, as well as criminal liability, including dismissal from the service, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and forfeiture of retirement benefits and imprisonment of one year to six years with a fine of up to P2 million.
Belgica also reminded government officials to review their charters to avoid being charged.
“Review your respective citizens’ charter. Don’t wait for cases to be filed against you. Our citizens deserve better,” Belgica said.
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