A letter sent by a duty officer of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) addressed to “Mayor Luis Marcaida III” has caused a stir at City Hall.
The letter, dated August 10, the same day Marcaida took his controversial oath of office as city mayor, was a referral letter endorsing a matter to the city mayor. It was however addressed to Marcaida instead of Mayor Lucilo Bayron, and was signed by Maria Teresa Vergara, duty officer of the DILG Public Assistance and Complaint Center.
The staff of the Office of the City Vice Mayor, the office currently being held by Councilor Nancy Socrates, said they received the letter September 11 and will forward it to Marcaida who is currently detained at the City Jail.
City DILG Director Rey Maranan said the letter’s reference to Marcaida as mayor was “an unintentional oversight.”
The DILG, in a memorandum issued August 25, has recognized Bayron as city mayor of Puerto Princesa. The position, however, is being legally disputed by Marcaida.
“Probably, her intent is to communicate the complaint reaching her office, to the LGU, without knowing the current dynamics here in the City of Puerto Princesa. That was an unintentional oversight on the part of the person, without malicious intent or whatsoever ,” Maranan said.
In an August 7 letter, the DILG central office asked the Office of the Ombudsman to clarify the latter’s July 6 order dismissing Bayron on a charge of “serious dishonesty.”
Subsequently, in an August 23 letter, the DILG sought the same clarification as to the next course of action it should take given the Court of Appeals’ decision issued on August 8 that overturned the Ombudsman ruling.
Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, counsel of Marcaida, has claimed that the Ombudsman decision should prevail as it is “immediately executory,” as provided under Section 27 of R.A. 6770 or the Ombudsman Act of 1989.
“There’s an appeal [from Bayron’s camp] to the Court of Appeals. But here’s what the law says – an appeal shall not stop the decision [of the Ombudsman] from being executory, so what clarification does the DILG need?” Topacio said in a press conference last week.
Maranan said the Office of the Ombudsman has yet to reply to DILG’s inquiry.