Lapu-Lapu City mayor accepts suspension for malversation without fuss
CEBU CITY – This is one scene that is rare in Philippine politics: a city mayor chose not to fight tooth and nail for her post.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza went to the office of the Department of Interior and Local Government in Central Visayas (DILG-7) on Tuesday afternoon to start serving her preventive suspension, which was ordered by the anti-graft court, Sandiganbayan, pending resolution of the charges of malversation of public funds filed against her .
She told reporters that she would no longer contest the suspension since the order had already been served.
Rene Burdeos, DILG director for Central Visayas, appointed Vice Mayor Marcial Ycong as acting mayor while Councilor Harry Don Radaza, the top-ranked councilor in terms of votes in the May 2016 elections, would sit as acting vice mayor.
Harry Radaza is nephew of Radaza’s husband, Arturo, a former mayor of Lapu-Lapu and congressman of the city’s lone district.
The suspension order stemmed from a 2002 case of the alleged misuse of P15 million in pork barrel funds intended for an anti-drug abuse program of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines (GSP).
Of the P15 million pork barrel funds that was supposed to go to the GSP-Cebu City, only P600,000 was given. The rest allegedly went to former 4th district Rep. Clavel Asas-Martinez.
At that time, Radaza was the treasurer of the GSP Cebu chapter and a private citizen.
The three others charged in the case were ex-officio Cebu Provincial Board (PB) Member Celestino “Tining” Martinez III, who was Bogo mayor at the time, and Bogo City Councilors Rhett Minguez and Cresencio Verdida, who at that time served as municipal treasurer and accountant respectively.
They too were issued suspension orders by the Sandiganbayan. SFM
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