The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) sees no need to pursue raps against former Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada for his alleged failure to turn over transition documents to his successor following the completion of a DILG fact-finding investigation.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya says that based on the fact-finding investigation conducted by DILG National Capital Region (NCR) Director Maria Lourdes Agustin, all the necessary transition documents were turned over by Mayor Estrada’s transition team to the DILG Manila Field Office on June 28 which in turn forwarded the same documents to the new city administrator on July 2, 2019 after conducting the necessary validation.
“Based on the results of the fact-finding investigation, we find no basis to file administrative charges against former Mayor Estrada as we have confirmed from a report submitted by our regional office that the required documents were endorsed by former City Administrator Ericson Alcovendaz to Mayor Moreno’s transition team and the DILG Manila Field Office on June 28, 2019,” says Malaya.
The DILG Spokesperson says there was supposed to be a turn-over ceremony in the morning of June 28 as agreed by both parties but it did not push through because of the absence of Mayor Erap’s transition team. Alcovendaz instead endorsed the transition documents to DILG City Director Atty Rolynne Javier in the afternoon of the same day after the staff of the incoming Secretary to the Mayor refused to receive the documents.
“Our DILG Manila Field Office reviewed and validated the transition documents and the same were forwarded to the Office of the City Administrator Felixberto Espiritu copy furnished the Office of the City Mayor on July 2, 2019,” he says.
He points out that “while Estrada and his team did not show up during the supposed turnover ceremony, what is important is that the transition documents have been turned over to his successor.”
He says that while the Department highly recommends the holding of a turnover ceremony for a more seamless leadership and management transition, there are instances that such ceremonies can be dispensed with for as long as the reasons are justified.
“The turnover ceremony is just ceremonial to symbolize the transition of power from an outgoing official to the next. Even if there is no formal ceremony or even if Estrada failed to attend the turnover rites, what’s important is that the transition documents are intact and are now in the possession of Mayor Isko’s team. There is substantial compliance with the applicable DILG Circular and we, therefore, consider this matter closed,” he says.
Based on the DILG-NCR’s fact-finding report, Estrada issued Executive Order No. 7 dated April 1, 2019 creating the City of Manila Local Governance Transition Team. The said team convened on May 22, May 29, and May 31 when they met with Mayor Isko’s transition team to discuss the turnover of documents and agreed on the turnover ceremony on June 21.
The report added that the turnover ceremony was postponed to June 28 but the transition team of Estrada did not show up on that day.
Earlier, the DILG mulled the filing of charges against Estrada if it is proven that there was negligence on the former mayor’s part to turn over documents.
On March 13, 2019 DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año issued Memorandum Circular No. 2019-39 which called for the creation of local government transition teams and the turnover of documents and inventory of properties to new local chief executives.
Malaya urges the public not to hold back in relaying to the Department those officials who have not yet properly turned over official documents as required under DILG MC 2019-39 to their duly-elected successors.
“Secretary Año is serious about his directive on the official turnover of documents to the new officials. Do not hesitate to report to us those who have not complied with our order so we can conduct the necessary investigation,” he says.