SOLSONA, Ilocos Norte — This town has two mayors.
This is because Mayor Jonathan De Lara has refused to vacate his post as local chief executive amid strict enforcement of a six-month suspension order along with his dad, Vice Mayor Joseph De Lara and uncle, Senior Sangguniang Bayan Member Edison De Lara.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos suspended the three De Laras since Dec. 10 upon strong recommendation of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan as they were found guilty of an administrative charge filed against them on Feb. 16, 2015.
According to the De Laras, they made an appeal at the Office of the President, which granted them a “stay order” pending review of their case.
But Vice Gov. Eugenio Angelo Marcos Barba clarified on Monday the SP have yet to receive an official copy of the reported “stay order” issued by Malacañang on Dec. 10.
“We do not have an official copy until now. It is still our stand that the order be enforced,” Barba said.
In compliance with the governor’s order, acting Solsona Mayor Jose Martin said in a separate interview on Monday that he will continue to assume as mayor until the governor says so.
“As acting mayor, I continue to assume my responsibility and sign official transactions at home because on the part of the SP, they recognize me as the mayor,” Martin said as the suspended Mayor De Lara still reports at the Mayor’s Office in Solsona.
It may be recalled that the provincial board suspended the De Laras on Nov. 9, 2015 for their failure to comply with the requirements of the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) by not indicating the names of their relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity not only once but many times already since they were elected in public service.
The respondents were found administratively liable, constituting a criminal offense of falsification of documents under Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6713 and Section 79 of R.A. 7160 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
The issue stemmed from an administrative case filed by Sangguniang Bayan Members Alexander A. Calucag, Mark Dennis P. Del Castillo, Jose A. Martin and Lorenzo M. Pascua against the De Laras for dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming of public officers. Leilanie G. Adriano/PNA/northboundasia.com