Sultan Kudarat

Sultan Kudarat governor suspends another town mayor

Rommel Rebollido

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Sultan Kudarat governor suspends another town mayor

SUSPENDED. Lebak Mayor Frederick Celestial addresses town employees on Monday, July 31, the same day he received a preventive suspension order.

Lebak municipal government

Lebak Mayor Frederick Celestial gets suspended for a month over allegations of dishonesty, misconduct, and dereliction of duty

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Sultan Kudarat Governor Pax Ali Mangudadatu suspended another town mayor in the province, on Monday, July 31, as a result of an administrative case filed by the municipal vice mayor and members of the town council.

Mangudadatu issued Administrative Order No.026, placing Lebak Mayor Frederick Celestial on a 30-day preventive suspension over allegations of dishonesty, misconduct, and dereliction of duty.

Celestial’s office received the preventive suspension order on Monday.

The mayor has been accused before the provincial board of violating a clause in the Local Government Code.

In issuing the suspension order, Mangudadatu said the evidence of culpability against Celestial has been determined to be strong.

“Given the gravity of the offense, there is a great probability that the continuance of the respondent in office could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records and other evidence,” read part of Mangudadatu’s order.

Mangudadatu, however, said the preventive suspension should not be seen as a finding of guilt but was merely “an initial step towards determining if the case filed against him is meritorious.”

He cited a recommendation from the provincial board for Celestial’s suspension, which was contained in Resolution No. 372 on July 18. The provincial board is serving as a quasi-judicial body, which is looking into the allegations against the town mayor.

Lebak Vice Mayor Mechor Alarcon along with councilors Juno Marteen Vegas, Blesilda Delos Santos, Randy Orgo, Eleuterio Otayde Jr., Jose Difunturom, and Venn Yousief Lampak filed the administrative complaint against Celestial on February 20..

Alarcon, Mangudadatu’s political ally, immediately took over as acting mayor of Lebak town. For the duration of the suspension, Celestial will not be receiving a salary, the order stated.

Celestial is the second town mayor in Sultan Kudarat placed under preventive suspension by Mangudadatu.

On June 26, he also suspended for 60 days the mayor of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat’s capital town.

Isulan Mayor Marites Pallasigue is facing three administrative cases filed by the town vice mayor and some town legislators for alleged dishonesty, misconduct, and dereliction of duty, the same accusations Celestial is accused of doing.

Celestial, for his part, said the administrative case filed against him was meant to undermine the “sovereign will of Lebak residents,” and disrespect them. 

He said he was “duly elected through the confidence of the people, a democratic essence that should be acknowledged.” –

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