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Mayor, vice–mayor, councilmen charged for removal of LGU employee

CEBU CITY –– The municipal mayor, vice-mayor, and several members of the Sangguniang Bayan of Pastrana, Leyte were all charged here before the Office of the Ombudsman for violating the Revised Penal Code and for abusing their authority over the alleged illegal removal of a permanent employee.

Charged for usurpation of authority under the Revised Penal Code, violation of RA 3019, violation of RA 7160, Oppression, Grave Misconduct, and violation of RA 6713 were Pastrana, Leyte Mayor Alvin Opiniano, SR., Vice-Mayor Edgar Empillo, OIC–SB Secretary Rina Balagbis, Human Resource Officer Eufracia Tan, and town councilors Federico Tan, Alvin Opiniano, Jr., Arnulfo Arellano, Claudette Chua, Elvira Bohol, Aiza Gerilla, and Ivan Saliente.

The criminal and administrative charge came from several acts of the accused leading to the alleged constructive dismissal of the Secretary to the Sangguniang Bayan, Frank Villablanca, who is a career officer of the local government of Pastrana.

A formal complaint filed by Villablanca before the Ombudsman described how the Sanggunian Secretary was summarily removed without cause or due process and his office ransacked by some of the respondents who purportedly collaborated with each other to the prejudice of public service.

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The formal complaint submitted to the Ombudsman

Villablanca confirmed to VBP’s News Team in Cebu that he had filed three various criminal and administrative cases against the erring officials ‘in order to set things right’ and to ‘prevent the same kind of abuse from ever happening to other LGU employees in Pastrana’.

‘I hope that we are still governed by laws that are higher, fair, and more powerful than the whims and caprices of corrupt politicians’, Villablanca said.

SB Secretary Villablanca told VBP that he most likely ‘earned the ire of mayor Opiniano and his political cabal for raising concern over some alleged anomalous transactions happening in Pastrana which happens to be my hometown’.

Villablanca, a former journalist and municipal administrator of Palo, Leyte, reportedly formulated Ursa Pastrana! (Rise Pastrana!), the anti–corruption slogan of Mayor Opiniano during the May 2016 elections, prior to joining the local government of Pastrana.  (VBP News Team Cebu)

Report by Guillermo C. Lopez

Featured Image credit to ABS-CBN News