The City administration denied on Wednesday it had shut down the offices of Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III and the City Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), as supporters of Mayor Lucilo Bayron continued to barricade the city hall premises on the third day this week.
Col. David Martinez, head of City Public Order and Safety Office (CPOSO), said the occupants of both offices voluntarily fled and locked their work places.
“Ang alam ko diyan, inabandona nila ang opisina nila. Kusang umalis sila, siguro baka iniiisip din nila yung safety saka security nila. Walang nagpaalis sa kanila,” Martinez said.
Marcaida’s spokesperson, Elmer Zita, however, said it is the City administration not them who closed down the Vice Mayor’s Office.
“It was closed upon the verbal orders of Col. Martinez and executed by Oscar Lapida, both co-terminus employee and minion of dismissed Mayor [Lucilo] Bayron,” Zita said.
Zita added that “no one can deny access to public office” and doing so was “a show and display of utter arrogance in violation of ethical standard of public officials and civil service law.”
“Dahil ‘yan ay public office, dapat di mo i-deny ng access ang mga mamamayan, lalo na ‘yong mga employees diyan. Di mo dapat yan sarahan, kandaduhan at barikadahan. ‘Yon ang malinaw. Di ‘yan private property. Hindi na ito serbisyo publiko, perwisyo publiko na,” he said.
Lapida, however, denied Zita’s accusation.
Elizabeth Maclang, one of Bayron’s appointed executive assistant, told Palawan News on Monday that it was the City General Services (CGSO) which decided to close down the Vice Mayor’s Office.
“Actually, may susi sila. Pero yun na nga, sinara yan dahil nga tuwing gabi, after office hours may nagvi-vigil. Gumagamit ‘yan ng kuryente, tubig, so ‘yon ang hindi nararapat. Kasi kung nandiyan ka dapat office hours lang. Kaya yung GSO na ang nagdesisyon,” Maclang said.
This, however, was denied by CGSO Chief Tiburcio Magay, saying it’s better to ask its respective occupants as to why the two offices are locked.
“Di ako ang nagpa-lock niyan kasi wala akong susi niyan. Syempre, kung sino ang may susi no’n sila ang hanapin niyo. Kasi walang susi na ni-turnover sa akin,” Magay said.
At 11 a.m. Wednesday, the City DILG staff went to their office to get certain documents. They were accompanied by City Information Officer Richard Ligad, along with the CPOSO personnel.
The City DILG staff did not give any statement to the media, when asked whether the office has been locked by the City administration. Reportedly, they are holding office at the Provincial DILG at the PEO compound in Bgy. Bancao-Bancao.
Ligad asked the City DILG staff to receive the letter of Bayron’s legal counsel, warning Regional DILG Director Florida Dijan of facing a case should she insist serving the dismissal order against the mayor.
CHRMO Chief Roberto Herrera said Marcaida’s regular staff are still employed under Civil Service, unless after undergoing due process are removed for a valid cause.
As to the vice mayor’s job order and contractual employees, Herrera said his office has no records concerning them since they were hired by Marcaida and their salaries were funded by the vice mayor’s office.
“Kapag sa vice mayor, ang presumption niyan ang funding office ay Office of the Vice Mayor. Kung doon ang pondo mo, pwede kang tanggalin ng vice mayor,” he said.
The same is true, he said, for the City DILG staff.
Zita said they are currently negotiating with barangay officials of Bgy. Santa Monica, concerning the use of the barangay gymnasium where Marcaida’s staff can hold office.
“We will do the legal process and legal means of which we will redress our grievance. Batas ang nilabag batas din ang siyang hahanapin namin na magiging solusyon sa problema.”