DILG orders Catanduanes gov to vacate post due to illegal reinstatement
MANILA, Philippines — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Friday ordered suspended Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua to vacate his post after reinstating himself in government office without an official order from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“He (Cua) installed himself the other day but that is unauthorized. Suspension of Gov. Cua is still in effect until April 2020. Vice Gov. Shirley Abundo is still the acting governor,” Año said in a text message.
According to Año, Cua cannot reinstate himself as governor, adding that doing so is tantamount to usurpation of authority which can be another administrative case that may be filed against him if he insists of holding on to his post.
“He has to serve the one-year suspension imposed by the Ombudsman which is due up to April 30, 2020. I am warning him to vacate and wait until April,” said the DILG secretary.
To recall, Cua was initially placed under a six-month preventive suspension on January 2019 upon the order of the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon in connection to a complaint filed by a certain Rey Mendez in September 2018.
The complaint was filed before the Office of the Ombudsman against Cua and Bato town Mayor Eulogio Rodriguez for alleged abuse of authority, conduct prejudicial to the interest of public service, dishonesty, and grave misconduct.
According to Mendez, Cua allowed E.R Construction, allegedly owned by Rodriguez’s wife, to use a vacant lot owned by the government without authority from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
While serving the six-month suspension, the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon released the decision on Cua’s cases imposing a penalty of one-year suspension that will end on April 30.
Año stressed the DILG does not recognize Cua’s assumption of office.
“He cannot use the provision of Sec. 66 of the Local Government Code because his suspension due to a graft case was based on the power and authority of the Ombudsman pursuant to RA 6770,” he explained, referring to the Act Providing for the Function and Structural Organization of the Office of the Ombudsman and for Other Purposes.
Jonathan Malaya, DILG Undersecretary for Plans, Public Affairs, and Communication, said lawyers of the department are drafting a memorandum ordering Cua to vacate the post.
“In the meantime, all employees of the Provincial Government and field offices of National Government agencies in Catanduanes are advised not to recognize Cua until the DILG sends them an official communication,” he said in another text message.
Edited by JPV
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