Five men including two active police officers allegedly working for dismissed Panglao mayor Leonila Montero stole three biometric devices of the town’s municipal hall on Wednesday afternoon.
Panglao Mayor Pedro Fuertes reported the incident to police identifying the suspects as Montero’s close-in security, Andy Siriban, Alejandro Arbutante and Glenn Cabilan and two uniformed personnel of the Panglao Police Station, PO3 Aldrin Cuervo and PO2 Gimel Oligario.
The men took the devices from the town hall’s library, near the stairs leading to Fuertes’ office and the main building near a restroom, a police report said based on Fuertes’ statement.
Fuertes told police that there were two witnesses who saw the five men take the devices.
It was Sariban who allegedly removed the biometric devices while the others served as lookout and assisted in taking the items.
Fuertes and Montero remained at loggerheads with their respective claims on the town’s mayoralty.
Montero was ordered dismissed by the Ombudmsan earlier this year.
She was found guilty of grave misconduct and was meted out with dismissal and perpetual disqualification from holding public office, allowing Fuertes, who was the elected vice mayor, to take over as mayor.
However, Montero last month month announced her re-assumption of the mayoralty on basis that the Court of Appeals downgraded the Ombudsman’s findings in her case from grave back to simple misconduct.
Fuertes has since challenged Montero’s return with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) favoring the former.
The DILG, through a memorandum, has called Montero’s return “premature” and declared Fuertes as the town’s lawful mayor.
The memorandum was projected to end the standoff between the two officials but Montero remained defiant calling the DILG’s declaration “illegal”and saying that she will not honor the department’s “decision.” (r)