Top officials of Batangas town face off at Ombudsman
BATANGAS CITY, Philippines – The top officials of San Pascual town in Batangas have found themselves in a legal battle as Mayor Roanna Conti and Vice Mayor Antonio Dimayuga file complaints against each other before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The two are both running in the San Pascual mayoral race.
On March 11, San Pascual Vice Mayor Antonio Dimayuga filed a complaint against Conti for allegedly going on a US vacation without the required application for leave and authority to leave.
Dimayuga alleged that Conti went to the US from December 20, 2018 to January 5, 2019 without the knowledge of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) and without appointing him as acting mayor during her absence.
“Unfortunately, the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) was not furnished with a copy of the travel documents of Mayor Conti nor were informed that the latter will be out of the country for her personal vacation thereby disabling the vice local chief executive to assume the post of the local chief executive in lieu of the vacancy due to the absence of the latter,” the complaint read.
The SB supposedly only found out about her trip after seeing photos on Facebook and upon the confirmation of municipal Human Resource Management Officer Ronaldo Gonzales Jr during a budget hearing on January 21.
Attached to Dimayuga’s official complaint are photos of Conti with her children in Las Vegas, Nevada, and La Cañada Flintridge in California; minutes of the budget hearing; authority to travel signed by Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas; and Conti’s unsigned application for leave.
“If the municipality of San Pascual experienced a calamity during December 20 to January 5 and caused a great loss and distress to the community, the decisions that only the chief local executive can do would be nearly impossible, thus leaving the fate of the town in limbo” Dimayuga stated in his complaint.
Conti denied the allegations.
“This case is totally baseless accusation, which will only waste the time and energy of our good prosecutors in the Ombudsman’s office. Mr. Dimayuga merely wants attention and the need to feel important," the Mayor said.
"Nevertheless, we are not backing down on this baseless charge and we will face it head on as I know that my name will be cleared of Mr. Dimayuga’s circus accusations. San Pascual should not be dragged into this dirty political tactics as I have always adhered to an honorable kind of leadership," she added.
On March 12, a day after Dimayuga filed the complaint against her, Conti filed a complaint against the vice mayor and members of the municipal country for delaying the approval of San Pascual's 2019 proposed annual budget.
The SB members are Roumel Aguila, Rommel Panopio, Lanifel Manalo, Juanchito Chavez, Ramel Fernandez, and Reyshanne Joy Marquez.
Contiaccused them of violation Section 3 of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, specifically for gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
In an official statement, the respondents said that while they received a copy of the proposed annual budget in October 2018, there were no obligatory attachments. They first convened for a budget hearing on December 5, 2018, continued on until early this month.
“Na sapagkat ang bawat inskripsyon sa humigit kumulang 100 pahinang proposed budget ay dapat busisiin, aralin, at unawain ang kahalagahan at mga pangangailangan, nagtakda ng series of committee meetings ang Sangguniang Bayan mula noong Jan 17 hanggang matapos ito nitong March 5, 2019, upang maisa-isa ang pagtatalakay ng bawat appropriations na nakalahad sa 2019 proposed annual budget,” their statement read.
(Since each inscription in the more or less 100-page proposed budget should be scrutinized and studied, and to understand its importance and requirements, the Sangguaniang Bayan set a series of committee meetings on January 17, and ended on March 5, 2019, to tackle each appropriation in the 2019 proposal annual budget.)
Dimayuga added that among the reasons for the delay are the discovery of lump sum amounts, the non-attendance of department heads during budget hearings, and additional insertions and changes in submitted program appropriations.
“Huwag sanang masamain ang aming pagtatanong at pag-uusisa sa ginawang paggastos ng kanilang tanggapan sa budget noong nakaraang taon sapagkat ito ay isa sa aming mga batayan sa pagpapasa ng budget para sa kasalukuyang taon,” the group said.
(Our questions about fund use of their offices in the past year should not be seen in a negative light since this would be our basis for passing this year's budget.) – Rappler.com