Gatchalian: No way I’m stepping down
VALENZUELA City Mayor Rexlon Gatchalian is not about to go down without a fight.
On Friday, the Court of Appeals granted him a temporary restraining order that prevented the Department of the Interior and Local Government from serving the dismissal order issued against him by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Gatchalian and six other officials were ordered dismissed after they were found administratively liable in connection with the fire that destroyed Kentex Manufacturing Corp., a slipper factory in Barangay Ugong last May, leaving 74 people, mostly workers, dead.
“There is no scenario in which I step down or leave the mayor’s office,” he told the Inquirer in a phone interview on Sunday, adding, “We did not violate any law in issuing provisional business permits for the factories.”
According to a resolution approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales last Feb. 17, the Office of the Ombudsman gathered “substantial evidence” and found Gatchalian and respondents City Fire Superintendent Jose Mel Lagan, Senior Insp. Edgrover Oculam, fire officers Roland Avedan and Ramon Maderazo; Licensing Officer IV Eduardo Carreon and Business Permit and Licensing Office officer in charge Renchie May Padayao “guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty and charged with a penalty of dismissal from the service.”
He and the others were charged after they were found to have issued a business permit to the firm despite its lack of a fire safety inspection certificate. Most of those killed were trapped on the second floor of the building.
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