Ilocos Sur mayor, official face suspension

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VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur: The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) here has recommended to suspend for 60 days Tagudin town Mayor Roque Jun Verzosa Jr. and a councilor pending investigation of criminal and administrative charges filed against them.

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Vice Gov. Eric Singson, SP presiding officer, said the suspension of the mayor and Councilor Arthur Chua will be implemented once Gov. Ryan Singson signs the resolution.

The Local Government Code, among others, states that the provincial board has the authority to recommend suspension orders for local officials facing investigation.

Versoza and Chua are facing charges for grave misconduct, gross insubordination, abuse of authority and conduct unbecoming a public official filed by employees from the business permits office – Noreen Sibayan, Gema Chiu and Joel Pastores – and Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) Reymund Sinai.

The complainants said Versoza abused his power for not allowing quarry operators to carry out quarrying activities despite a permit issued by the PENRO office headed by Sinai.

Versoza, however, told The Manila Times that his action was based on the complaint of his town mates affected by the quarrying, which he described as illegal and the operators did not secure a new permit to operate in Tagudin and in the barangay (villages) where their operations are located.

Versoza, through a resolution and ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Bayan of Tagudin, ordered the police to stop quarrying in the town.

The order came after he inspected the quarry site in August and September where it was discovered land erosions, which has affected private agricultural lands and the riverbanks.

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