LIDLIDDA, Ilocos Sur: The Office of the Ombudsman for Luzon has recommended the dismissal from the service of the incumbent mayor for grave misconduct and charged for violation of the anti-graft law.
Ordered removed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales was Mayor Jesus Sagay.
The dismissal order was personally served by lawyer Joseph Apolonio, Attorney IV, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region 1 office on Wednesday. Sagay personally received the order.
The mayor’s legal counsel said they will file a motion for reconsideration before the Office of the Ombudsman this week.
Apolonio said he will not force Sagay to vacate his office but he was considered sacked as the town mayor effective August 3, upon receipt of the order signed by Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno.
The DILG designated Vice Mayor Benilda Tawali as acting mayor following Sagay’s dismissal.
Sagay’s removal stemmed from a complaint filed in 2014 by Romeo Duca, a mayoralty candidate who lost in this year’s May 9 elections.
Duca complained that Sagay entered into a contract to rent the mayor’s family-owned two-hectare farmland, represented by his brother, as demonstration station for farmers without the consent of the Sangguniang Bayan in violation of the Local Government Code.
He said the municipality of Lidlidda was paying P30,000 monthly rental fee using taxpayers’ money in favor of Sagay’s family.
The farmland is a conjugal property of Sagay’s parents.
Upon investigation, the Ombudsman found probable cause to indict Sagay for grave misconduct and abuse of authority when he rented their family land without the approval of the Sangguniang Bayan to the prejudice of the local government of Lidlidda.
Aside from the administrative case, the Ombudsman also recommended the filing of a graft case before the Sandiganbayan against the mayor.