A civic group filed on Friday, October 13, cases of sedition and obstruction of justice against Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron and several government officials and private individuals.
Complainant Mansueto “Baby” Fuertes, representing a group called Advocates for Excellent Government, filed cases in violation of the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree 1829, before the Office of the City Prosecutor.
Aside from Bayron, other respondents were his executive assistants, program managers and department heads, namely Richard Ligad, Elizabeth Maclang, Oscar Lapida, Jr., Joseph Vincent Carpio, David Martinez, Andrew Russel, Haydie Dizon, Violeta Dalonos, Renato Estrada, Epitacio Abrea, Danny Abrea, Glenn Mohagan, Allan Naraga, Pedro Calamba, Jonathan Magay, Karl Bayron, and Feliboy Oliveros.
City Councilors Modesto Rodriguez II, Victor Oliveros, Rolando Amurao and Nesario Awat, as well as Bayron’s supporters, namely private contractor Macasaet Builders’ Jonathan Macasaet, and Radio Bandera commentators Elgin Robert Damasco and Louie Larrosa, were also included as respondents.
The complainant claimed that Bayron and his co-respondents, along with their supporters, “intentionally converged at the entrance of the New City Hall building” since Oct. 1 “to obstruct the service” of the dismissal order by the Departmentbof Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Fuertes claimed the co-respondents, particularly those working for the City government, conspired with Bayron “in inciting the public and their supporters” to back the mayor in his “unlawful cause,” and “to protect and aid” him in case the DILG would attempt to serve the dismissal order from the Ombudsman.
He also complained about City Hall’s strict security measure wherein non-regular employees hired by Bayron “stringently inspected” the belongings of almost every individual to search for the dismissal order and ask them if they were from the DILG.
“While their supporters were guarding the main entrance of the New City Hall, respondents sang and played a videoke machine to entertain their followers, consequently disturbing various offices in City Hall,” he said, adding the said acts “obstructed the [building’s] smooth flow of day-to-day business.”
“The City’s garbage and dump trucks, together with those belonging to private contractors and supporters, were parked at the entrance and exit roads of the City Hall compound, creating traffic jams,” he noted.
City Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Director Rey Maranan and Regional DILG Director Florida Dijan were also included as respondents, pointing out their non-compliance to the directive of Acting DILG Secretary Catalino Cuy.
Fuertes said Dijan made no attempt to serve the order since he arrived last week in Palawan.
“To date, the Office of the City DILG is closed. Respondents Dijan and Maranan were nowhere to be seen during this period of confusion at the City Government of Puerto Princesa,” he added.
Reached for comment, City Legal Officer and Acting City Administrator, Atty. Arnel Pedrosa, maintained that only the Ombudsman has the “preliminary jurisdiction over the case of Mayor Bayron,” not the City Prosecutor.
He told Palawan News that Bayron and his co-respondents committed “no sedition because one of the elements, which is ‘rising tumultuously’, is lacking.”
Pedrosa added that “there is no obstruction [of justice] because [there’s] no attempt from the DILG.” “There is crime only when there is overt act, so [there’s] no violation of PD 1829,” he argued.
The City Prosecutor’s Office will soon issue a subpoena to the respondents, asking them to file their respective counter-affidavits before preliminary investigation runs.
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