TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines – Calling him a “swivel chair” official, former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile criticized Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr for allowing the transfer of the agency’s regional consular office in Cagayan Valley.
In an interview with local radio, Enrile said Yasay approved the transfer of the Department of Foreign Affair’s (DFA) regional office from Tuguegarao City in Cagayan to Robinsons Mall in Santiago City, Isabela without knowing the situation.
Tuguegarao City is considered the regional government center in Cagayan Valley.
Enrile said the transfer of the DFA office to Santiago City is against the law because it would defeat the purpose of having a center of regional operations.
He said regional centers were created to make it “easier” for people to avail of services offered by different government agencies, since they would no longer need to travel to different places.
Enrile, who pushed for the establishment of the regional government center in Tuguegarao, encouraged local officials in the province to go against the move of the DFA.
DFA-Cagayan Valley regional director Florencio Franco said their operations in Tuguegarao City will stop starting January 17.
Franco said their operations in Santiago City will only be temporary while they await the construction of the Robinsons Mall in Tuguegarao.
Rappler learned from Tuguegarao officials that the DFA had been using an office provided by the city government for free.
Earlier, Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law, warned Franco of possible graft charges should the DFA continue with the planned move.
“Here is fair warning. If you cause the transfer, I shall lead civic spirited Tuguegaraoeños in charging you both administratively and criminally,” Aquino said, saying that Republic Act 3019 penalizing graft and corrupt practices “has a very broad reach.” – Rappler.com
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