THE DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the implementation of a court order suspending the chairwoman of Barangay Bel-Air in Makati as well as a member of the village council over a graft charge.
In a memorandum dated August 24, the DILG ordered the enforcement of an order by the Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) suspending village chief Constancia Lichauco and council member Conchita Calauag pending the litigation of their criminal case for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act filed by the Ombudsman.
The DILG memorandum cited the order of Makati RTC Judge Encarnacion Jaja Moya, which denied the motion for reconsideration of the two accused on June 3, 2016.
Lichauco and Calauag should therefore stop exercising their functions as officials of Barangay Bel-Air, the DILG said.
“Considering the premises above, you are hereby directed to cease from exercising and performing your duties and functions as Punong Barangay and Sangguniang Barangay Member, respectively for a period of 90 days from the receipt of this Order,” the DILG memorandum stated.
The order of Moya, dated July 26, junked the motion for reconsideration of Lichauco and Calauag, which sought to stop the suspension order.
“[A] careful scrutiny of the Motion for Reconsideration shows that the grounds alleged therein are mere rehash of the arguments already raised and passed upon by the court in the assailed order and no new justifiable reason has been alleged to warrant a reversal of the same,” the judge said.
The case stemmed from an anonymous complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman alleging that Lichauco entered into a service contract with a food supplier, Two Chefs Corp., allegedly owned by members of her immediate family.
The Ombudsman investigator found that the contract would not have been possible without a conspiracy among the accused and the owners of Two Chefs. There was no bidding for the contract entered into on March 2, 2007, the Ombudsman found.
It was discovered that Two Chefs’ owners were the sons and daughters-in-law of Lichauco, which the Ombudsman said was more than sufficient proof of the village chief’s “indirect pecuniary interest.”
Members of the village’s committee on award, Rosario Dimayuga and Calauag, should have checked if the contract met the requirements of the law, investigators said.
“It is worth emphasizing that the said award of the contract of Two Chefs Corp. would not have been possible without the collective effort and cooperation of all the accused acting in unison to achieve a common criminal design,” the Office of the Ombudsman stated.