MARCOS, Ilocos Norte: For the third time, this town has a new acting mayor and a new vice mayor after the Office of the Ombudsman reinstated the vice mayor whom it earlier dismissed from government service.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales approved the order for the reinstatement of Rofel Pambid, No. 1 among councilors in the 2016 elections.
The order was served on the afternoon of November 2 by the Regional Office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Region 1.
On the same day, DILG officials also designated No. 2 councilor Allan Coloma the new vice mayor and presiding officer of the Sangguniang Bayan.
The Ombudsman earlier ordered Pambid dismissed from the government service after he was found guilty of violating Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code and RA 6713 or Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards.
The Ombudsman, however, reversed its earlier ruling and issued another order granting a petition and motion for reconsideration that Pambid filed through his lawyers.
Councilor Jonel Rosqueta told the media that Pambid will serve as acting mayor in the absence of Mayor Jessie Ermitanio, who is in jail for allegedly masterminding the killing of Mayor Arsenio Agustin, who was gunned down while walking to his car after inspecting a project in Barangay Mabuti on June 3, 2017.
Agustin had won again as mayor against his closest rival Salvador Pillos in the May 2016 elections but he was slain before he could take his oath on July 1.
His companion, Mark Valencia, a backhoe operator employed at the municipal engineering office, was also shot by a gunman in the back.
Agustin’s bodyguards fired back at the gunman who managed to get away.
Witnesses pointed to Ermetanio as the mastermind in the killing of Agustin and Valencia.
Ermetanio is now in jail facing double-murder case with his co-accused.
He himself, then vice mayor, survived an ambush and shootout on the evening of April 4 while driving through an unpopulated area between the Padsan River and the Daquioag Elementary School.
The vice mayor’s driver Lucky Jesrel Rumbaoa died from gunshot wounds and his security escort Ricky Florendo and municipal council staffer Edralin Arellano were injured.
It was learned that Ermetanio tagged Agustin as the mastermind in the attempt on his life but he did not file any formal charges against the latter.
JAIME C. AQUINO