MANILA, Philippines – Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto dismissed a city government official over “some questionable practices and abusive behavior,” he said in a post on his official Facebook page on Sunday, August 18.
Sharing photos of the dismissed official’s vacated office, Sotto said, “This is the room of one Office Head after I fired him…. The pictures show how some people treat the government like their private property.”
The room was left empty, and Sotto hinted at how the ex-official could have taken off with all of his office’s furniture and supplies.
“Isa sa mga naging problema natin sa transition na ito ay hindi maayos ang imbentaryo ng gamit. ‘Di malinaw saan dinala ang milyon-milyong (o bilyong) kagamitan. ‘Ni walang sticker at number karamihan ng mga kagamitan sa mga opisina kaya ang hirap i-trace pag nawala,” Sotto commented.
(One of our problems during this transition is that the inventory of properties is disorganized. It’s unclear where millions (or billions) worth of properties went. There’s not even a sticker or numbers on most of the items in the offices, which is why it’s so difficult to trace them when they go missing.)
Sotto promised sweeping reforms in the city government when he assumed office on July 1.
On July 12, Sotto ordered a comprehensive physical count of the city government’s supplies after the Commission on Audit flagged P1.464 billion in inventories that could not be accounted for.
He said the order was not an indictment of his predecessors but an effort at transparency, and to clarify that the audit covered the previous mayor’s term, not his.
Sotto toppled the Eusebio clan after nearly 3 decades of ruling Pasig City. He succeeded Bobby Eusebio, who had served 3 terms as mayor since 2007.
Seeking to eradicate the “old way” of Pasig politics, Sotto relaunched the city’s complaints desk and hotline, and encouraged residents to report any irregularity involving local government units (LGUs).
“We are giving everyone a chance. Some of the most successful transitions in LGUs have come with minimal changes in personnel,” Sotto said in his post about the dismissed official, touching on his promise to retain as many of the city government’s employees as the law allows.
Many city hall workers had feared for their jobs after Sotto said early in his term that he would organize the bureaucracy and weed out redundancies.
“But we will deal with the abusive as they deserve, and with the full force of the law. Please keep reporting them,” the mayor urged his constituents, afterwards referring them to the city complaints desk and hotline.
In a succeeding Facebook post, Sotto shared a screen grab of what he called “fake news” apparently meant to discredit him.
The item, which appeared to be a Facebook post, insinuates that Sotto has condoned anomalous garbage collection contracts.
“Ingat, mga Pasigueño! Nagsisimula na naman sila sa fake news campaign nila. Alam niyo kung sino ang magiging susunod na kontraktor ng basura sa Pasig? Kung sino ang mananalo sa public bidding,” Sotto said, denying the veiled accusation of corruption.
(Beware, Pasigueños! They are starting with their fake news campaign again. You know who will be Pasig’s next garbage contractor? Whoever wins the public bidding.)
Taking a shot at his political opponents, Sotto said, “Nakakatawa lang na parang gusto yata nila ng ungkatan. Talaga ba? Final answer na ba nila 'to? (It’s just funny that they seem to be asking for a reckoning. Really? Is this their final answer?)”
Sotto has avoided commenting on the Eusebios, saying he would rather “move on” than exchange criticisms with his predecessors.
This time, however, the new mayor seems up to the challenge.
“Sinusubukan sana nating mag-‘move on’ na, para sa kapakanan ng lahat. Pero kung patuloy nilang susubukang lasunin ang utak ng iba sa kanilang mga kasinungalingan (We are trying to ‘move on’ already, for the sake of everyone. But if they will continue trying to poison the minds of others with their lies),” Sotto left his sentence hanging, then added “#DesperateMoves” and “#ReportTheTrolls.” – Rappler.com
JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.