Court denies governor’s plea

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THE Court of Appeals has junked a plea filed by Governor Luis Raymond Villafuerte Jr. of Camarines Sur in connection with the administrative complaint filed against him by another local official.

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In a nine page ruling written by Associate Justice Leoncia Real-Dimagiba and concurred by Associate Justices Francisco Acosta and Jhosep Lopez, the appellate court’s Special 15th Division dismissed the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by Villafuerte against the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

During the May 10, 2010 polls, Sandy SR Ondis and Carina Polinga were declared winners as mayor and vice-mayor, respectively, of the municipality of Siruma, province of Camarines Sur.

Then incumbent mayor Nonito Vier filed a petition to annul the proclamation of Ondis. Thereafter, Polinga advised the Land Bank of the Philippines not to recognize Ondis’ signature, prompting him to administratively charge the vice-mayor.

Villafuerte later placed Polinga under preventive suspension in view of Ondis’ complaint.

Polinga, for her part, filed with the Office of the President (OP) a verified complaint against Villafuerte for abuse of authority, oppression and misconduct in office on the ground that his issuance of order of suspension against her was with grave abuse of authority for the purpose of harassing and oppressing her.

The OP forwarded the entire records of the complaint to the DILG local office for proper disposition. Villafuerte then sought redress with the appellate court.

In its January 5, 2016 resolution but released to the media just recently, the appellate tribunal turned down Villafuerte’s plea.

“As petitioner’s claim[s]of forum shopping and prejudicial question are devoid of substance, we cannot support a finding that the continuance of public respondents of proceedings in [this case]would constitute grave abuse of discretion,” the court said.

Jomar Canlas

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