LAOAG CITY — Vice Mayor Romulo Acdal of Paoay, Ilocos Norte immediately took his oath of office as acting mayor of Paoay, Ilocos Norte after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Region 1 made clear that the dismissal order on reelected Mayor Jessie Galano remains enforceable even if he was proclaimed as winner in the May 13, 2019 elections.
The DILG order directing Acdal to assume as the acting mayor was served on Thursday by lawyer Patrick Estillore, Regional Legal Officer of the DILG Region 1, prompting Galano to step down. The order was signed by DILG Regional Director James Fadrilan on July 2, 2019.
Judge Artemio Quidilia Jr., acting Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Dingras and Marcos towns in Ilocos Norte, administered Acdal’s oath of office last Friday.
In a press conference, lawyer Ferdinand Ignacio, Galano’s legal counsel, explained the DILG memorandum issued by Secretary Eduardo M. Año has “no legal basis” as he based it merely on a “verbal communication” with Ombudsman Samuel R. Martires.
In view of this, Ignacio said they will bring the matter to court.
Galano was ousted in connection with the administrative complaint filed in 2015 by then Paoay Mayor Dolores Clemente against him when he was still the vice mayor.
The complaint alleged that then vice mayor Galano signed travel orders and other related documents contrary to law on the ground that only the mayor is authorized to sign and approve such travel documents.
The Ombudsman resolved the case and found him guilty of violating Republic Act 6713 or Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and Republic Act 7160 or The Local Government Code.
The dismissal order against Galano has been appealed to the Supreme Court and pending resolution.
Meanwhile, hundreds of his supporters conducted a prayer rally in front of the municipal hall Monday morning.
As Galano failed to secure a favorable relief pending an appeal at the Supreme Court, the DILG ruled “dismissed and suspended local elective officials who ran, won and proclaimed as winners last May 13, 2019 elections are still enforced.”
“Sad this is happening to Paoay as people have already spoken. I hope and pray everything will be on its right place at the right time,” said Sharon Joy Ramos upon hearing the news about the re-elected mayor’s dismissal from service since Thursday.
Wearing red shirts and placards expressing support to Galano, the group has urged authorities to respect the voice of the majority who reelected him into office.
Though dismissed from office, Galano has maintained its grip at the municipal town hall as acting Mayor Romulo Acdal told in a press conference, Galano will remain as his adviser. Galano and Acdal teamed up during the last election and won against former acting mayor and vice mayor Eileen Guerrero and running-mate Luz Reyno Carpio, a retired district supervisor of Paoay town.
For Tomas Taroma Jr. of Paoay town, he insisted Galano was duly elected as mayor of Paoay, thus the people’s choice must be respected. Leilanie Adriano PNA – northboundasia.com