The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman administrative cases against three (3) local officials for non-observance of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols of the national government.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that two (2) cases have been referred to the Ombudsman, particularly against the mayor and a councilor in Sto. Tomas, Pangasinan, for holding a birthday celebration/mass gathering which violated social distancing and the prevailing curfew.
He said the case against the mayor of Buluan, Maguindanao was also referred to the Ombudsman after the local executive failed to prohibit mass gatherings in his municipality. The Department has not received any reply to the show cause order issued to the said mayor hence he has been considered to have waived his right to reply.
“Binusisi po ng maigi ng Kagawaran ang mga natanggap na reklamo at ebidensya laban sa ilang local government officials. Base rin sa kanilang naging sagot sa show cause orders ng DILG ay napag-alamang mayroon silang naging kapabayaan,” he said Tuesday.
The DILG also sent a letter of admonition and warning to a city mayor and two municipal mayors.
The city mayor from Central Luzon was admonished by the Department for holding a mass gathering when the local executive distributed Social Amelioration Program (SAP) forms to the transport sector. The recipients who still went the next day were immediately dispersed to avoid any violation. The City Government later on committed to the DILG that it will adopt corrective measures to avoid similar incidents.
A town mayor from Western Visayas was also admonished for refusing to allow an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) to be quarantined within the municipality because the seaman was said to have come from an "infected country” despite obtaining the necessary clearances from appropriate agencies. The DILG said there was no showing that the Municipal Government exerted effort to facilitate the return of the OFW in violation of the President’s directive to welcome all OFWs subject to local health protocols.
“Ngayong panahon ng pandemya lalong higit dapat bantayan ng DILG ang mga pamahalaang lokal sa maayos na pangagasiwa at pagpapatupad ng nasyunal na polisiya at tiyaking natutugunan ang mga daing ng mamamayan laban sa kanilang mga lokal na lider,” he said.
Also, an admonition was also issued to a town mayor from Ilocos Region for unruly behavior towards police officers assigned at a checkpoint and who was alleged to have been intoxicated when it happened.
Moreover, the DILG is further validating the case against a mayor in Cavite and a mayor in Batangas on the same ground of holding a mass gathering. The former is alleged to have held a flag-raising ceremony during the ECQ while the latter is reported to have distributed relief goods at a barangay hall where no social distancing was observed.
On the other hand, DILG Spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that the explanation and corrective actions done by the governors of Abra, Antique, Bukidnon, and Camiguin as contained in their replies to the Show Cause Order issued by the DILG were accepted by the Department as justified. “Hence, having found their explanations to be in order, the Department has closed its investigation,” he said.
For instance, the governor of Abra initially restricted a farm company in carrying and transporting its poultry products outside their province but the said company was eventually able to ship out its produce unhampered upon renewal of its corresponding Certificate of Registration Meat Transport Vehicle.
The governor of Antique initially prohibited the entry of delivery of hardware and construction materials but she eventually reissued the executive order without an express prohibition on construction material delivery and entry in the province. The explanation of the governor of Camiguin was likewise accepted as justified.
“The DILG will continue to act on complaints received by the public and we will handle the complaints without fear or favor. In first issuing the Show Cause Order, we ensure that due process is observed and that the side of the local chief executive is heard before we make our conclusions,” he added.