Five contractual employees of the local government unit (LGU) of the municipality of Sofronio Española filed administrative complaints against mayor Marcito Acoy and vice mayor Rhona Chou for allegedly meting them a sudden and unjust indefinite suspension and failing to act on a minor office conflict that apparently caused the suspensions.
Rona Anigan, Lorna Jardin, Lilian Cautibar, Margarita Borromeo, and Jeaneth Tabasa filed their complaints for grave abuse of authority to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan secretariat Tuesday (March 23) afternoon, alleging that the conflict started when a spouse of one of their co-workers accused them of rumor mongering in a private group chat.
They explained in their complaints that they were suddenly suspended from work in September 2020 without a clear reason.
“December pa dapat ang mga contract namin. Ang hinihiling na lang namin ay mapakinggan kami, mabigyan sana ng hustisya. Matagal na itong suspension namin, at sa pandemic pa talaga nangyari. Hindi inaksyunan nina mayor at vice (mayor). Sana ay matugunan ito,” the complainants stated.
The complainants said they found out that the suspension was allegedly the result of a complaint filed by a certain Janeth Ocampo, who personally complained to Chou about how she was “slandered” by Anigan and company.
Ocampo is the wife of the municipal embalmer, who reports directly to the vice mayor.
The complainants reportedly reached out to Ocampo to apologize several times. In one instance, Chou oversaw their apology after the complainants approached her to resolve the matter.
“Nakiusap talaga kami, na sana maayos nga yon, kasi nagsimula lang naman lahat sa group chat. Nalaman namin sa association namin na hindi pala siya empleyado [sa munisipyo]. Pina-barangay pa niya kami, at makikipag-settle sana kami sa maayos na paraan,” the complainants said.
“Sabi namin, kung sakali namang na-offend ka, sorry na. Sa madaling salita, biruan. [Pero] hindi niya ‘yon matanggap. Ang sabi niya, managot dapat kami kasi siniraan daw namin siya. Ilang beses kaming umakyat doon sa bahay ni vice [mayor Chou], na [sabi niya] para daw makipag-ayos at makabalik kami sa trabaho. Isang beses, inantay namin [si Ocampo] hanggang mga 10PM, hindi siya dumating,” they added.
Acoy and Chou both declined to provide comments on the matter because they have yet to receive their copies of the complaints.
“For now hindi pa ako makakapagbigay ng statement diyan, dahil hindi pa naman ako nakakatanggap ng letter of complaint from the complainants,” said Chou. (with reports from Patricia Laririt, Aira Genesa Magdayao, and Ruil Alabi)