Ombudsman suspends Malay town mayor

AKLAN, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has suspended Malay Mayor Ciceron Cawaling, said Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año Thursday, October 25.

Año said that the Ombudsman resolution was signed October 23, while he signed the immediate implementation of the order on the eve of Boracay reopening.

"Lumabas na 'yung resolution (The resolution came out) from [the] Ombudsman for the preventive suspension of Mayor Ciceron Cawaling…. The Ombudsman signed the resolution on the 23rd. But I was out of town [then] and, this morning, I signed the implementation on the preventive suspension," Año said.

The dispositive part of the Ombudsman order said that Cawaling is suspended for not more than 6 months without pay.

While Cawaling is out of office, Vice Mayor Abram Sualong serves as the acting mayor.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) filed administrative and criminal complaints against 17 Aklan province officials – Cawaling included – over the neglect of Boracay Island.

The investigation team led by Interior Undersecretary Epimaco Densing saw discrepancies in the declared environmental fee collection and the actual sum collected.

President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered the island's closure, saying Boracay had become a "cesspool" because of its sanitation and environmental problems. (READ: INSIDE STORY: How Duterte decided on Boracay closure)

Boracay Island is scheduled to open on Friday, October 26. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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