Bulacan city mayor ordered dismissed
CITY OF MALOLOS—The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of Mayor Reynaldo San Pedro of the City of San Jose del Monte in Bulacan province for grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct, in a decision that could jeopardize his reelection bid.
The decision, issued on March 16 but made public only lately, found San Pedro guilty of harassing city engineer Rufino Gravador Jr. by stripping him of his duties and creating the position of city building official, purportedly to spite him.
Should the dismissal be unenforceable with just three weeks before the May 9 elections, the Ombudsman said the penalty would be converted into a fine equivalent to the mayor’s salary for one year.
San Pedro told his supporters who gathered at the city hall during the Monday morning flag ceremony that his political opponents had announced his dismissal from the service.
“They even say I have been detained, but these are all politics, and I have prepared myself for these kinds of attack, especially during these elections,” he said.
“There is no mayor who will be dismissed. We will exhaust all legal remedies to stop this,” he added.
Gravador sued San Pedro in July 2015 for misconduct after the mayor had designated him as city agriculturist. He took a leave of absence and appealed his reassignment to the Civil Service Commission, which ordered his reinstatement as city engineer on July 30, 2015.
Five days later, San Pedro issued an executive order designating Arnel Vitug, the assistant city engineer, as the city building official, separating that function from the office of the city engineer.
The Ombudsman decision, signed by Conchita Carpio Morales, said San Pedro’s order “manifested his deliberate intent to harass complainant [Gravador] to make the latter’s return to office miserable.”
It said San Pedro’s order separating the office of the city building from the office of the city engineer was “a clear violation of Section 477(a) of Republic Act No. 7160 (the Local Government Code), which states that the city and municipal engineer shall also act as the local building official.”
In his sworn statement, Gravador said he was reassigned for refusing to approve clearances for the construction of the city’s controversial government center, which is now the subject of a graft and corruption case filed in the Office of the Ombudsman.
San Pedro, Vitug and 15 other people have been implicated in the case, for which Gravador has been testifying.
In December 2015, Gravador survived an ambush in Santa Maria town. He charged San Pedro and other people with attempted murder for the attack.
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