The Thirteenth Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) of the City of Tagbilaran clarified the reported dropping of the administrative complaint against Barangay II Punong Barangay Allan Ricardo Real and four village councilors for oppression, abuse of authority and violation of the Civil Service Law.
An order issued on July 13, 2018, by the SP constituting itself as a Committee of the Whole “provisionally dismissed” the administrative complaint no. SP 01-18 filed by former Barangay II Treasurer Edgardo Uguis including the answer of Real and the four councilors for lack of verification.
The order further stressed that the provisional dismissal of the complaint was “without prejudice to its refiling” before the SP.
According to the 2-page order, administrative complaints and answer by the respondents filed before the SP against any elective barangay official should be verified with the prescribed form as explicitly required by sections 61 and 62 of the Local Government Code of 1991.
VERIFICATION NOT MERITS
In an interview with the Chronicle, Tagbilaran City Councilor Agustinus Gonzaga, chair of the SP Committee on Ethics, Good Government, Public Accountability and Investigation said “Upon perusal of the documents submitted by both parties, it was found that the complaint filed by Uguis and the corresponding answer of Real and the four councilors lacked verification.”
“The lack of verification prevented the SP to discuss the merits of the complaint and the answer of the respondents,” explained Gonzaga.
The recommendation of Gonzaga for the provisional dismissal of the administrative complaint of Uguis and the corresponding order was unanimously concurred by the SP on July 13, 2018.
An unverified administrative complaint was filed by Uguis before the SP on February 6, 2018, after he was fired from his position of village treasurer on January 17, 2018, on the strength of Sangguniang Barangay (SB) Resolution No. 014-2018, series of 2018.
The SB resolution was signed by Barangay Kagawads Ralph Cabagnot, Roy Navea, Eleonor Camacho and Virgilio Balon and was attested by Real as the Punong Barangay.
Three of the seven SB members – Jordan Borces, Arturo Cabagnot and Ritgie Felix Verano did not sign the assailed resolution.
Uguis was appointed by Real with the concurrence of the village council on November 2, 2017 but his services were terminated more than two months later on January 31, 2018 by Real after the SB resolution called for his replacement.
Both the SB resolution and Real’s termination letter cited gross negligence to lawful orders, gross neglect of duty and “being notoriously undesirable.”
Citing oppression, abuse of authority and violation of the Civil Service Law, Uguis sought relief from the SP through an administrative complaint that was referred to the SP Committee on Ethics, Good Government, Public Accountabilities and Investigation then headed by Councilor Besas.
In his affidavit-complaint, Uguis stressed that according to a Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) circular, a barangay treasurer or secretary if removed for cause, an administrative case must be filed after an administrative hearing conducted and a finding of guilt must be reached before removal from the position.
Since there was no administrative proceeding and no finding of guilt on his part, his removal was “illegal”, according to Uguis.
Barely a month after his appointment, Uguis admitted that the Php23,000.00 intended for the 2017 Barangay Poblacion II Volleyball League was stolen from a locked steel cabinet and was reported to the Tagbilaran City Police Station (TCPS).
An initial investigation by the Theft and Robbery section of the TCPS found that the “theft incident as inside job, or perpetrated by his/complainant co-employee.”
Moreover, Uguis alleged that he was forced to vacate his desk and workstation by Real with the presence of police officers and without the proper turnover of funds and documents in the absence of a representative of the Commission on Audit (COA).
Also, a day after he was terminated, Real and the four councilors bullied him, under threat of incurring the ire of barangay personnel to encash a Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) check for their salaries threatening him with bodily harm if he refuses to encash the check.
Uguis denounced Real for uttering derogatory remarks about his masculinity calling him “diablo”, a gay slang for “blow job” even in the presence of police officers, according to his complaint.
In their answer to Uguis complaint, Real, and the four councilors lambasted their former treasurer for defying and disregarding memos from the Punong Barangay and displayed “arrogance, dishonesty, and being notoriously undesirable.”
According to the SB and Real’s allegations, the dismissed village treasurer kept Php593,679.00 uncollected deposit in the SB office ””putting the barangay funds at risk” including the loss of the Php23,000.00.
Real denied the accusations of Uguis as an “unjustified claim” his remarks on his masculinity which “are not corroborated with any proof.”
The village chief also denied that he ordered Uguis to encash the check for the salaries of the barangay personnel, a day after his termination.
The respondents also “vehemently denied” all allegations of Uguis and maintained that there was no malice or oppression in all their actions.
The resolution of Uguis complaint suffered a delay after the Committee temporarily suspended the investigation due to the proximity of the Barangay elections set on March 2, 2018 in compliance with Republic Act 7160 banning investigations within ninety days immediately prior to any local elections.
Uguis told the Chronicle that he will refile his verified complaint before the SP next week to debunk reports that the complaint was dismissed. (Chito M. Visarra)