Ombudsman suspends outgoing Bacolod mayor again

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines -- The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the suspension of outgoing Bacolod City mayor Monico Puentevella for delaying the implementation of an administrative decision involving two city building officials. 

In a decision posted on the Ombudsman website on Wednesday, June 22, they found Puentevella guilty of simple misconduct. He was ordered suspended for one month and one day. 

The Ombudsman said it issued a decision on July 2014 which ordered the suspension of Building Official Isidro Sun Jr. and Building Inspector Jose Maria Makilan after finding them guilty of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service. 

Puentevella received a directive from the Ombudsman to implement the suspension order on December 9, 2014. Rather than implement the order, he wrote to the Ombudsman, insisting that “in the spirit of Christmas, the effectivity of the order is set on January 1, 2015.”

The Office of the Ombudsman stressed its decisions are “immediately effective and executory,” adding, “there is nothing vague or ambiguous with this wording.” 

The Ombudsman emphasized that “neither R.A. No. 6770 nor the issuances of the [Ombudsman] authorize a head of office or agency to schedule a different date for the effectivity of the decision," the ruling added.

Puentevella, for his part, said that he has yet to receive a copy of the Ombudsman decision, but if indeed there is an order, it is already considered as “moot and academic,” as the mayor will end his term on June 30.

Puentevella lost his reelection bid to Bacolod Representative Evelio Leonardia in the May 9 elections. 

The outgoing mayor is also facing graft charges before the Sandiganbayan for his alleged involvement in the procurement of a computer package worth P26 million, which came from his Priority Development Assistance Fund when he was still a congressman of Bacolod. For that, Puentevella was previously suspended for 90 days last November 16, 2015 by the anti-graft court. –