The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it is only being “lenient” in delaying its serving of an order of dismissal against Mayor Lucilo Bayron issued by the Office of the Ombudsman.
“We will be lenient, but not too much that it would mean that we will be charged with dereliction of duty for not serving the Ombudsman’s order,” DILG Assistant Secretary and Spokesman Rico Echeverri was quoted by Malaya Business Insight in an interview in Manila the other day.
Echeverri noted Bayron’s publicly stated vow not to honor the DILG order, which the latter claimed was illegal and added that the department may simply have the order printed in a newspaper of general circulation to render the ruling as having been officially served.
Mayor Bayron’s supporters have locked down the City Hall building and formed a human barricade on its main entrance since last week in anticipation of the serving of the order by the DILG, which will force Bayron to step down.
Even city officials, including its chief of security, have warned DILG officials there will be violence if they force the serving of the Ombudsman order. Bayron’s lawyers also said they have initiated an administrative complaint against DILG Secretary Catalino Cuy for issuing the implementation order.
Echeverri also called on Bayron to secure an order from the court if he wants to block the serving of the dismissal order.
City Legal Officer Atty. Arnel Pedrosa, reacting to Echeverri, said there is no need to secure a temporary restraining order from the courts since Bayron already filed before the Court of Appeals last week an urgent motion seeking to stop the DILG from serving the Ombudsman’s dismissal order.
“The prayer will serve for the same purpose,” he told Palawan News Wednesday, October 11.
In the manifestation, Pedrosa said Bayron’s lawyers also informed the Court of Appeals that “the Ombudsman through the DILG is about to implement again the dismissal order against the mayor dated November 18, 2016.”
The DILG officials said they are giving Mayor Bayron until this week to seek a court order against the dismissal ruling before implementing it.
Pedrosa also clarified that Bayron or the city government is not preventing the DILG from serving the contested order.
“Actually, the DILG, if they would like to implement the order, nothing can prevent them,” Pedrosa said. “But he (Bayron) would like to make it clear that he will not be recognizing the service of that illegal order coming from the Ombudsman.”
Pedrosa asserted that Bayron was already absolved in his serious dishonesty and grave misconduct case through the Court of Appeals decision dated August 8, 2017, which he said was further fortified by its resolution dated August 24, 2017.
“With that, Mayor Bayron is confident that the Court of Appeals will issue an order in his favor,” he said.