BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government has served Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella the notice of the 90-day preventive suspension order issued against him by the anti-graft court.
Late afternoon on Monday, November 16, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region VI Director Anthony Nuyda and legal officer Cedric Jaranilla served the suspension order to Puentebella at his house in Barangay Villamonte.
Puentevella is facing graft charges for his alleged involvement in the procurement of a computer package worth P26 million using his Priority Development Assistance Fund when he was still congressman of Bacolod.
According to Nuyda, Puentevella personally received the suspension order, which was issued by the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division on September 28. The mayor said that he was already expecting the order, Nuyda added.
With Puentevella’s suspension, DILG appointed Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya and Councilor El Cid Familiaran as acting mayor and vice mayor, respectively. They immediately took their oaths of office before Municipal Trial Court in Cities Judge Montano Medel at the People’s House.
Both officials will assume and exercise the functions of mayor and vice mayor for a period of 90 days while Puentevella temporarily vacates his office, as provided in Section 46 of the Local Government Code of 1991.
Nuyda said that Gasataya, as acting mayor, has the authority to hire and fire employees, since he will assume office for more than 30 days.
Gasataya said that “my position is just temporary. I appeal for the cooperation of the employees for 90 days.”
For his part, Familiarian said that his assumption of the vice mayoral post is “nothing new” because he has served as acting vice mayor several times before when Puentevella left the country on official trips. – Rappler.com