The camp of suspended Narra mayor Gerandy Danao presented three witnesses in Thursday’s hearings to testify in his defense against the administrative charges filed against him by his political opponents.
The embattled mayor is also scheduled to testify on August 26.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan is also expected to issue subpoenas to Narra doctor Rolly Sarmiento and South Star Gamefowl Management Association, Inc.’s personnel Randy Arimado on August 26, on the motion of the defense that they be subjected to cross examination.
The first witness presented by the defense was Narra Municipal Budget officer Edna Escobañes, who claimed that Danao’s detractors did not help to pass the town’s 2010 budget in time.
Danao’s camp claimed that the Sangguniang Pambayan even maneuvered to delay the processing and approval of their annual budget.
“We offer the testimony of Ms. Escobañes that the complainants, singly and collectively, members of the Sangguniang Bayan and vice mayor Crispin Lumba, did not help the respondent on the matter of timely approval of the budget for 2020, and that they engaged dilatory moves and tactics, and in fact, they delayed the approval of the budget to their detriment of the municipality and its employees,” Danao’s counsel Atty. Edwin Gastanes said.
Narra Municipal Planning and Development officer Engr. Dennis Billones also testified that while the Annual Investment Plan that he submitted did not include a budget for the municipal development plan, it was a common practice in previous budget submissions.
The last witness, Narra Water Supply System (NWSS) officer-in-charge Engr. Jonalyn Sibug, testified that there were no anomalies that in the NWSS since the beginning of Danao’s term in July 2019. Irregularities in the NWSS were one of the complaints for gross negligence filed against Danao by Lumba and his fellow detractors.
Sibug stated in her judicial affidavit that the water system’s problems, such as unpaid dues to suppliers, were “inherited” by her office from the previous administration. She added in her testimony that these unpaid dues hindered in the development of the NWSS, such as in the installation of new pipes and equipment to service the people of Narra.
The defense’s hearings will continue August 26, where Danao will testify in his defense. The same day is also allocated for Sarmiento and Arimado, should they agree to testify.