Davao del Norte

Davao del Norte governor defies Palace suspension order, points to Lagdameo

Ferdinand Zuasola

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Davao del Norte governor defies Palace suspension order, points to Lagdameo

DEFIANT. Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib addresses his supporters at the provincial capitol in Tagum City, and vows not to follow the suspension order from Malacanang, on Thursday, April 11, 2024.

Newsline Philippines

Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib says he suspected Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo Jr. influenced Malacañang’s decision to suspend him for two months

DAVAO ORIENTAL, Philippines – Thousands gathered around the Davao del Norte provincial capitol in Tagum City as a defiant Governor Edwin Jubahib refused to follow a suspension order issued by Malacañang.

Many of his supporters trooped to the capitol to prevent attempts to make Jubahib step aside on Thursday, April 11, so his vice governor, De Carlo Uy, could take over for two months. The governor called on his supporters not to leave the capitol.

Jubahib said he suspected his political enemies in the province, particularly Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo Jr., influenced Malacañang’s decision to suspend him from office.

In 2019, Jubahib was a political underdog and won the gubernatorial race in Davao del Norte, defeating Rodolfo “Rodney” del Rosario Jr. whose family has ruled in the province for decades.

The Del Rosarios and Lagdameo are close relatives, and were closely identified with the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s father and namesake.

Rodney, the son of former Davao del Norte congressman and governor Rodolfo del Rosario, garnered 166,870 votes against Juhabib’s 275,984. 

His brother Anthony, who was then the governor, lost the congressional race in the province’s 1st District to former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Jubahib and Alvarez both ran under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

In 2022, the Del Rosarios’ group fielded Roy Catalan against Jubahib and failed to unseat him.

The Palace, through Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, ordered on April 8 that Jubahib be placed under preventive suspension for 60 days effective on Thursday, after it found “strong evidence of guilt” based on a complaint filed by Provincial Board Member Orly Amit before the Office of the President.

The details of the complaint are unclear but according to Jubahib, Amit accused him of grave abuse of authority and oppression because the governor took a capitol-owned vehicle assigned to the board member and assigned it to the Provincial Engineering Office. But after a month, the vehicle was assigned back to Amit.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), in a statement, said Bersamin’s order was based on an administrative complaint against the governor by various parties, “which raises concerns regarding the alleged misuse of authority, potential oppression, and the utilization of government funds to advance the interests of a private company.“

Jubahib said the two-month suspension order against him was “politically motivated.”

“This is not a fair decision and I do not recognize the President’s preventive suspension order,” Jubahib told Rappler.

He said he would go to court and file a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the order from Malacanang.

He added, “Mali ang desisyon na ito. Nagtrabaho ako ng maayos. Hindi ako aalis dito hanggang hindi ako na satisfied sa decision (This decision is wrong. I worked hard. I will not leave here until I am satisfied with the decision) And I call on my people not to leave the capitol.”

The DILG said, “We recognize the challenges faced by our officers during the implementation of this suspension order, and we commend their professionalism and dedication in upholding the law amidst any resistance encountered.” – Rappler.com

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