DILG says governor has to serve out suspension: Cua barred from assuming his post
posted 10-Jul-2019  ·  
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BARRED FROM ASSUMING HIS POST. Governor Joseph Cua, pictured here being sworn in by RTC Judge Lelu Contreras, expressed hope that he would eventually be cleared and al-lowed to serve the fresh mandate given him by the people of Catanduanes.

A defiant but disappointed Joseph Cua vowed to come back as governor for his second straight term, after an alleged memorandum from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) stopped him from assuming office last Sunday, June 30, 2019.

He told the crowd that included Congressman Hector Sanchez, Vice Governor Shirley Abundo, and the eight members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan who separately took their oath of office, that his legal battle continues to overturn the Ombudsman’s adverse decision on the case filed against him.

Cua expressed his strong belief that he did nothing wrong regarding the parking lot issue and in due time he will be exonerated.

In his message after he was sworn in by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 43 presiding judge Lelu P. Contreras, the governor disclosed that it was his group’s understanding as well as that of legal experts that he would assume his post.

He cited the relevant portion of the Ombudsman’s decision that clarified that in the event that the penalty of suspension can no longer be enforced due to separation from the service, including expiration of the term of office, it shall be converted into a fine in an amount equivalent to his salary for the remaining portion of the year-long suspension period.

In the memorandum allegedly sent to all DILG regional directors, Secretary Eduardo Añon stated that local elective officials who were dismissed from service or placed under suspension “shall continuously serve the imposed penalty…”

The memo likewise said that the decision came after the secretary’s verbal communication with Ombudsman Samuel Martires that those who have started serving their penalty shall continue to serve the same despite their re-election to the same or different position.”

Sec. Año said the Ombudsman would be issuing a formal communication directing the same as he directed DILG regional directors to strictly observe the guidance.

A member of Cua’s inner circle, however, cast doubt on the authenticity of the document sent through electronic means, noting that as of Mondar morning, DILG Catanduanes provincial director Uldarico Razal Jr. has yet to serve an actual copy of the memorandum to the governor.

It was pointed out that the digital copy of the memo did not bear the numbered security seal indicating its authenticity.

He likewise bared that the governor’s camp is not entertaining the possibility of asking the Ombudsman to convert the remaining suspension into a fine as they have already filed an appeal with the proper court.

Likening his ordeal to a blockbuster teleserye, the provincial chief executive said that behind the grand design on the small portion of parking area, “someone is smiling and claiming his own victory, one that he can never share with the people of Catanduanes.”

Cua described his opponent as a Goliath who is highly intelligent and having a thick pocket filled with the people’s money, yet he won against all odds with the unconditional support of the people.

“An makaturotriste, naghubon pa nin tunok na baging sugod, na aram kong bako man sana ako an makamati kundi pati kamo,” he explained, adding that the people of Catanduanes will not forget this pain.

“Sala ining estratehiya sa eleksyon. Dapat itama ninda an saindang mali kung gusto pa nindang magbalik,” he said.

He stated that he is in pain, not because he is barred from holding office but because he regretted making the people an orphan when they had already spoken in the noble exercise of their democratic right that they wanted him to be the father of the province.

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