Forty-five mayors (45) are facing cases before the Office of the Ombudsman for their alleged failure or refusal to create their respective Anti-Illegal Drugs Abuse Council (ADAC) in their localities, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año says that the Department has filed the complaint against 25 mayors on Wednesday afternoon before the Office of the Ombudsman mayors, while the first batch of complaints against 20 mayors were filed last March 14.
“Despite several directives from the DILG and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), the concerned mayors still failed or refused to comply with the said orders and their towns are among those that are without an organized and functional ADAC,” says Año.
Of the 45 mayors, 15 are in Bicol Region, particularly in Albay, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon provinces.
Seven are in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), specifically in Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Lanao del Sur provinces.
Five are in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), exactly in Abra and Ifugao provinces. There are also five in Mimaropa, all from Palawan province.
In Central Visayas, four mayors are all in Cebu province. In CARAGA, all three mayors are in Agusan del Norte province. There are also three in Calabarzon, precisely in Laguna and Quezon provinces.
Moreover, there are two from Cagayan Valley – one in Cagayan province and one in Nueva Vizcaya. There is also one in Eastern Visayas, from Eastern Samar province.
The DILG and the DDB issued Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2018-01 on May 21, 2018, mandating all local government units (LGUs) to activate, strengthen and ensure the functionality of their local ADACs; approve a comprehensive local anti-drug plan of action to eliminate drug affectation; and appropriate a substantial amount of funds for anti-illegal drugs related programs, activities and operations.
This was followed by numerous DILG directives and DDB regulations which have been cascaded to LGUs to remind and direct local chief executives to organize their respective ADACs.
“For their refusal or neglect to organize their local ADAC, the 45 mayors have committed grave misconduct in office and gross dereliction of duty,” he says.
Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behaviour or gross negligence by a public officer, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, wilful in character, and implies wrongful intent and not mere error in judgment.
According to Año, these are grounds for which an elective official may be disciplined, suspended or removed from office pursuant to Section 60 of the Local Government Code of 1991.
“It is President Duterte himself who is leading the fight against illegal drugs and yet these local governments simply did not heed several orders and reminders and did not step up to the plate. Magmula sa national government, hanggang sa mga probinsya, lungsod, bayan at barangay – lahat ay dapat kumikilos at nagtutulong-tulong para sugpuin ang iligal na droga,” says Año.
He says the Department is still validating from its regional offices the alleged non- compliance of another list of mayors and may file another set of complaints in the next few weeks.