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Vice mayor urges DILG to sanction Batangas town mayor for ECQ violation

The vice mayor of Talisay town, Batangas, has called on the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to sanction Mayor Gerry Natanauan for violating quarantine guidelines in their town.

Vice Mayor Charlie Natanauan, the older brother of the mayor, expressed hope that the DILG would decide on the mayor's case since there was suppsedly enough "evidence" to support the allegations.

“Ang panawagan ko sana maaksyunan kasi ano pa'ng hahanapin ninyong ebidensiya? Nagkasal siya, e 'no gathering' nga. Sana ay bigyan ng atensyon na masuspinde kasi lumabag sa batas, sa ECQ,” Vice Mayor Natanauan said in a phone interview with Rappler on Tuesday, May 26.

The vice mayor was referring to the April 6 letter sent by DILG-Calabarzon OIC-Regional Director Elias F. Fernandez Jr to Mayor Natanauan regarding his alleged violations of various DILG memorandum circulars regarding the implementation of ECQ guidelines.  

Fernandez cited two instances involving the mayor when the entire Luzon was on lockdown.

“On March 18, 2020, you solemnized a marriage ceremony despite being reminded of the strict guidelines prohibiting mass gatherings and the enforcement of home quarantine; and on March 25, 2020, you distributed relief goods at Barangay Tranca which caused a number of people to gather around notwithstanding the rules on the observance of stringent social distancing,” the DILG official said.

 DILG Undersecretary Epimaco V. Densing III issued a show cause order  to the mayor on April 6, giving him 5 days to submit an explanation under oath as to why no administrative charges should be filed against him, including the imposition of suspension pendente lite for failure to perform his mandated duties and functions in enforcing strict social distancing directives.

Mayor Natanauan said he had already responded to the allegations.

“Nasagot ko naman po 'yun, wala naman problema na 'yun (I've already addressed that, there's no problem there),” the mayor said, when asked for  comment.  

As of Tuesday, May 26, the local office of DILG in Batangas said it had yet to receive a copy of Mayor Natanauan’s reply. It also said it would  not issue further comments while the case was under investigation.

Last month, the DILG  issued show cause orders to several governors and mayors  for allegedly violating the national government's quarantine rules. The officials were not identified.

It was not the first time for the vice mayor to speak out against this brother. In September last year, Vice Mayor Natanauan filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudmsan against his brother for alleged grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty, which the mayor had dismissed as "politically-motivated." – Rappler.com