The latest in this continuing saga for the mayorship of Puerto Princesa, came from the Court of Appeals, which upheld its earlier exoneration of Mayor Bayron and established further his legitimacy as Chief Executive of Puerto Princesa. In effect, the reliance by Vice Mayor Marcaida on the Ombudsman’s earlier order relieving Bayron for serious dishonesty, simply did not wash. And while the decision did not preclude other legal remedies available for the Vice Mayor, the CA’s Friday the 13th order is certainly a huge legal and moral victory for Mayor Bayron in his quest to hold on to power.
Quick to the draw, the Vice Mayor’s spokesperson, Elmer Zita, branded the decision as a ” public deception … because the ruling of the CA cannot overrule the decision of the Ombudsman ….only the Supreme Court can…. ..” If this is indeed the thinking of detained Vice Mayor Marcaida, then he owe it to his beloved city to bring the matter to the SC and let the gods of Padre Faura decide the case with finality. Meanwhile, let’s go on with our lives and let City Hall do what it is supposed to do – govern the city without the embarrassing barricades.
BRIEFLY NOTED: It took a party-list representative to bring to the national government’s attention the paralyzing impasse of the mayoralty row in Puerto Princesa. KABAYAN Representative ( and Palawan’s “4th congressman” ) Harry Roque called on his colleagues in the lower House to look into the peculiar situation of Mayor Bayron whose exoneration by the CA of an earlier findings by the Ombudsman is being ignored. Roque’s contention is that the Ombudsman should respect the CA’s decision, it being merely a quasi -judicial body whose decisions are subject to review by the courts. Rep.Harry’s speech at the House had help clarify the issues, but unintentionally, may have given the wrong impression to a broader audience, that all is not well, in the capital city of the ” world’s most beautiful island “. With images of City Hall being barricaded and rallies held here and there for both camps, i wonder how many millions are lost in tourism income because of our own leaders’ undoing!
AND BY THE WAY: At the center of the mayoralty storm is DILG, the government department tasked to supervise the operations of LGU’s. Besieged by both camps, its top brass in the City and in its Regional offices appear literally lost and bewildered, their decisions petrified by the possibility of legal actions that may be filed against them. In fact, the legal team of Mayor Bayron had the temerity to send a terse memo to the DILG Regional Director warning her of dire consequences should she move against Mayor Bayron. This is one for “Ripley’s Believe it or Not “where a regulator could be casually threatened into inaction, and had to conveniently hide from where the fire of action is.
Of what good then is a DILG that cannot effectively assert its mandate? If the agency is convinced that the Ombudsman is correct, then damn the torpedoes, go ahead and implement its Order. Otherwise, ignore the Ombudsman’s belated action and uphold the judicial power of the Courts. But please, don’t be a wimp and prolong the agony of Puerto Princesans – who certainly deserve a respite from all the political wrangling in the city. As a philosopher of old once commented, “let justice be done though the heaven’s fall”.