Panglao Vice Mayor Pedro Fuertes took over as acting mayor of Panglao after the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) implemented the suspension of Mayor Leonila Montero on Wednesday.
Fuertes received the notice of assumption from DILG provincial director Ma. Loesella Lucino on Tuesday, the same day the department received the Ombudsman’s suspension order against Montero.
Lucino served the suspension order to the mayor while Fuertes handed over to Governor Edgar Chatto a signed notice of assumption after formally taking over as chief executive of Panglao.
Fuertes will be assisted by the town’s new local government operations officer Sofonio Abing in the transition of responsibilities during the duration of Montero’s three-month suspension.
Meanwhile, first Councilor Briccio Velasco took over as vice mayor, also at an acting capacity.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales earlier ordered the three-month suspension of Montero after she was found guilty of simple misconduct.
The decision stemmed from Montero’s unlawful appointment of four losing candidates in the 2013 elections as consultants to the town’s local government unit.
Morales also ordered the filing of a charge for violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and four counts of Unlawful Appointment as penalized under Article 244 of the Revised Penal Code against Montero.
Records showed that Montero hired Noel Homarchuelos as municipal administrator/consultant for administrative services; Danilo Reyes as public information consultant; Apolinar Fudalan as Public Employment Service Office Coordinator/IT consultant; and Fernando Penales as infrastructure/engineering consultant.
“The consultants were hired on a job order basis to serve the mayor without executing any contract of service or issuance of any appointment paper duly reviewed and approved by the Sangguniang Bayan,” Morales said.
Local Government Code provisions prohibit and disqualify Hormachuelos, Reyes, Fudalan and Penales from appointment to any public office in the government within one year after the 2013 election, the Ombudsman pointed out.(rt)