New mayor takes oath in Palawan capital
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III took his oath on Tuesday as the mayor of this provincial capital of Palawan, replacing Lucilo Bayron who was ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman in November last year for serious dishonesty and grave misconduct.
Marcaida took his oath before Regional Trial Court Judge Angelo Arizala after receiving an order from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to assume the post.
The vice mayor assumed office amid threats of political reprisal and opposition from Bayron’s supporters.
Bayron, Marcaida’s political ally, had gone on “travel leave” after the DILG served the dismissal order on Feb. 10. His lawyer said the former mayor would contest the Ombudsman’s ruling in the Court of Appeals (CA).
Bayron’s supporters, who held a solidarity rally for the former mayor last week, had warned Marcaida not to heed the DILG order while the case remained unresolved in the CA.
The Ombudsman, in a decision in November 2016, found Bayron and his son, Karl, “administratively liable for serious dishonesty and grave misconduct.”
The case stemmed from the appointment of Karl as project manager of Bantay Puerto VIP Security Task Force during Bayron’s first term as mayor in 2013.
The father and son had signed the contractual employment papers stating that they were not related.
The Ombudsman imposed a penalty of permanent dismissal, forfeiture of benefits, cancellation of eligibility and perpetual disqualification from public office.
Marcaida admitted he was hesitant to take over Bayron’s post. “I have nothing to do with the case filed against him. I only wanted to be vice mayor,” he said.
But Marcaida said he decided to take his oath when he received a memorandum from the DILG. He said he did this against the wishes of some of his political allies.
“I’m facing a possible legal sanction from the DILG if I refused to assume the position,” he said in a press conference.
Marcaida said his former party mates, who were loyal to Bayron, were planning to file a case against him. —REDEMPTO ANDA
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