The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday officially recognized Pedro Fuertes as the chief executive of Panglao, ending an over weeklong standoff between him and dismissed mayor Leonila Montero as they both claimed the town’s mayoralty.
Johnjoan Mende, DILG provincial director, and municipal local government operations officer Sofronio Abing, Jr. delivered the five-page memorandum which deemed Montero’s re-assumption of the mayoral post “premature” inside the municipal hall on Monday afternoon.
Montero and Fuertes have claimed to be Panglao’s legal mayor since last week. Early on Monday, both stood as Panglao’s chief executive during the local government unit’s flag-raising ceremony at the municipal hall and addressed LGU employees explaining their legal claim of the mayoralty.
The memo which favored Fuertes was issued by DILG 7 director Leocado Trovela on Friday last week.
“Per record and report, this Office was informed that respondent Mayor Montero re-assumed office as Mayor of Panglao, Bohol on Sept. 10, 2018 and continues to discharge her functions. Thus, such re-assumption to office is premature,” the DILG said in the memorandum signed by Trovela.
“Accordingly, respondent Montero should continue serving the penalty of dismissal with all its accessory penalties imposed in Ombudsman Joint Order dated 19 Jan. 2018 relative to OMB-V -A -15-2084, unless directed otherwise by a competent court,” the memo further stated.
The memorandum was served to a member of Montero’s staff, Marcos Guirit, at 3:30 p.m. after the DILG personnel waited for her for an hour but she did not arrive.
Fuertes said that the memo finally cleared up his claim on the mayoralty and should put to rest reservations and confusion on the issue.
“I am still the full-fledged municipal mayor of Panglao, Bohol,” said Fuertes.
However, Montero remained defiant, noting that she will not honor the DILG “decision” which she called “illegal.”
She had earlier said that she reassumed the mayoral post based on “facts.”
“I know sa akong balaod na akong gi-barugan, I was the duly elected mayor. There was no legal impediment nga nag-dili nako na mo-balik karon–like TRO or whatever,” she said. “So, I will not deprive the people of Panglao of their trust and confidence na ilang gihatag nako in 2016.” (R. Tutas)