Cagayan Governor Mamba surrenders to House following detention order

Dwight de Leon

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Cagayan Governor Mamba surrenders to House following detention order

LOCAL EXEC. Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba during Day 2 of the Agos Summit on Disaster Preparedness at SM Aura Premier's Samsung Hall in Taguig City on July 8, 2017.

Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

(1st UPDATE) Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba was cited in contempt after his failure to justify provincial hall officials' absence during a House inquiry into alleged election irregularities committed by his provincial government in 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba surrendered to the House of Representatives on Thursday, August 24, Speaker Martin Romualdez said, days after he was cited in contempt.

Mamba’s provincial government has been the subject of numerous hearings conducted by the suffrage and public accounts committees due to alleged illegal expenditures during the 2022 campaign period.

As of writing, the governor was facing lawmakers during the joint committee inquiry on Thursday afternoon.

The House ordered his arrest over his failure to justify the absence of provincial hall officials from a hearing on August 7.

“An audio clip of the governor was played [on August 17] stating that he is the one who issues a travel order to the employees, impliedly admitting that he caused witnesses not to attend the August 7 hearing by not signing their travel order. He also challenged the House to arrest him instead of his personnel,” House public accounts committee chairperson Stephen Paduano of Abang Lingkod said.

Aside from Mamba, Cagayan Provincial Information Office head Rogelio Sending was also cited in contempt for ignoring summons without any legal excuse. He is the subject of a 30-day detention order.

“The House of Representatives is fully committed to adhering to all established legal procedures and safeguards throughout this process, ensuring fairness and due process,” Romualdez assured Mamba after he was taken into House custody.

On Thursday, Mamba reiterated the provincial government begged off from the hearings because Cagayan officials were busy attending to the needs of their constituents following recent tropical cyclones.

Mamba said relief operations are still underway in Cagayan, which declared a state of calamity in end-July.

He apologized to lawmakers, acknowledging shortcomings when he failed to respond to the show-cause order issued by the House against him. 

“I would like to emphasize at the outset that it has never been, nor will it ever be, my intention to disrespect the House of Representatives,” Mamba said.

“The non-issuance of the travel orders [to provincial government officials] was never a hindrance to their participation in the proceedings of the committees. I can only presume that the personnel, being Cagayanos themselves and commiserated with their fellow Cagayanos who are victims of Super Typhoon Egay, felt it their moral and public duty to address first the needs of their constituents,” he added.

The House inquiry into the Cagayan provincial government’s 2022 election activities was sparked by resolutions filed by Cagayan 3rd District Representative Joseph Lara, whose wife Zarah lost to then-reelectionist Mamba last year.

The congressman alleged that the provincial government used government funds for various programs in violation of the campaign spending ban.

A Commission on Elections division initially moved to disqualify Mamba in December 2022 from the race he had won in May that year, but the Comelec en banc later overturned the previous ruling.

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.