Bais mayor ordered suspended for simple neglect of duty
DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines—A city mayor is facing a one month suspension for failing to issue a permit within the 10-day period required by law.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the suspension of Bais City Mayor Mercedes T. Goñi for simple neglect of duty.
Goñi was also required to attend a Values Orientation Program for violation of Republic Act 9485, or the Anti Red Tape Act.
The order was contained in a seven-page decision penned by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Agnes T. Montuno dated Aug. 27 and approved by Ombudsman Morales on Nov. 2.
As with similar previous cases, the Ombudsman’s decision would be forwarded to the Department of Interior and Local Government for implementation.
The suspension stemmed from the complaint filed by Ian Cody Katipunan, an applicant for a commercial radio station in Bais.
Katipunan first submitted his application for a mayor’s permit on July 31, 2013. He was not granted a mayor’s permit because he was not able to submit the required documents.
But Katipunan’s Beat Radio went on air on Dec. 8, 2013 with a Provisional Authority to Operate from the National Telecommunications Commission.
Goñi issued a Cease and Desist Order on Feb. 3, 2014, which Katipunan complied with. He resumed operations on Nov. 14, 2015 by virtue of a Provisional Authority from the NTC.
On Jan. 4 this year, Goñi again reminded Katipunan he could not operate without a mayor’s Permit. Katipunan applied for a permit two days later.
After no permit was issued after 10 days, Katipunan filed the case against Goñi for Neglect of Duty and violation of RA 9485.
He said he complied with all the necessary requirements and had paid all the fees.
Goñi belied the claim of Katipunan that she did not act on the mayor’s permit application. She told the Ombudsman that on Jan. 7, a day after she received the application, she ordered the Office of the City Engineer and the City Planning and Development Office to look into the records and legal consequences of the application, and to update her on the status of the complainant’s first application.
She also endorsed the application to the City Council for appropriate action, and that Katipunan was duly appraised of the status of his application every time he made a follow-up.
The Ombudsman found the mayor’s explanation to be insufficient.
“RA 9485 imposes upon the respondent the duty of informing the Complainant in writing why she could not act on the application within the 10 day period, the number of additional days the office needs to act on the same, and the date when the final action of the office on his application will be released.”
The Ombudsman noted that “action” as defined by law was a written document of approval or disapproval made by the government office on any client request submitted for processing.
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