SORSOGON CITY (JGL) – Sorsogon Vice Governor Antonio “Kruni” H. Escudero, Jr. urged Monday (April 6) Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of Interior and Local Government to hold in abeyance the implementation of the suspension of Makati City Erwin “Junjun” Binay by the Ombudsman. He said that before he was replaced as acting Sorsogon governor, he was allowed to file “four motions for reconsideration” and was finally forced out of office after the Revolutionary Government of Cory Aquino.
“Basic is the right of any government official to be given the due process under the law before he is evicted from office,” the 71-year-old uncle of Senator Chiz Escudero told this reporter.
“Secretary Roxas should not politicize his position by unevenly dispensing the duties of his office,” Escudero added. “He should be professional.” He could not recall if the Local Government Code was amended shortly after EDSA I revolution to make suspension of a local government official self-executing and without recourse for appeal by the official being evicted.
Escudero recalled that when then Sorsogon Juan J. Frivaldo was declared U.S. naturalized citizen by the Supreme Court and was forced out of office, as vice governor then, he was installed governor. He then tapped senior Sorsogon Provincial Board Member Ben Hur Dugan as vice governor. But when Frivaldo was reinstated as governor by the Supreme Court, Escudero lost his position because he could no longer evict acting Vice Gov. Dugan who he had sworn into office. He did not explain why he had to give up his vice governor’s position when he could have asked Dugan to go back to the office of the provincial board.
Although, Secretary Leila De Lima of the Department of Justice had already bowed to the majesty of the Court of Appeals, which ordered Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to abide by the restraining order it issued, letting Binay stay as mayor of Makati City while the permanent TRO is being resolved, Secretary Roxas as of press time, has yet to make a statement on the CA ruling.
WILL VICE MAYOR KID PENA FOLLOW SUIT?
It is also unclear if Makati City Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña would stop exercising his duty as Makati’s acting mayor, following CA’s issuance of the TRO to Ombudsman’s preventive suspension of Binay. Binay is being investigated in connection with the alleged irregularities in the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II.
Ombudsman Carpio-Morales immediately went to the Supreme Court to challenge the CA ruling, hoping the Supreme Court will protect the integrity of the mandate of her office.
Meanwhile, Rolando Anonuevo, provincial board member of Sorsogon’s District 1, told the provincial board assembly presided over by Provincial Board Member Antonio D. Escudero, III, that in view of the separation of powers, the provincial board should not be dependent on the funding of the office of the governor.
“Because the provincial board is the legislative arm of the province, it should not be beholden to the executive branch as far as appropriation for office supplies and other official needs are concerned. The legislative and executive branches are supposed to be independent of and co-equal with each other as does the judicial branch,” Anonuevo explained.