Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan are no longer amenable to any extension on the ongoing hearing of suspended Narra mayor Gerandy Danao’s administrative case.
During the embattled mayor’s hearing last Wednesday (September 2), board members stated that they were running out of time to resolve the case, as the law dictates that the board has 120 days to resolve the case.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan, acting as a quasi-judicial body in an administrative case trial lodged against Danao, said it will no longer entertain extensions after two subpoenaed witnesses of the prosecution failed to appear before the hearing last Wednesday.
“Let me remind both parties that this body will no longer allow any more extensions since we will comply with the deadline of the filing of offers, comments, and issuance of memoranda,” said board member Ryan Maminta.
“We are taking up so much time on this case, and we do not want to repeat the case of [former San Vicente mayor Alejandro] Villapando. We have to render our decision, as stated by law, by 120 days,” said fellow board member Cesareo Benedito, Jr.
Villapando underwent a 6-month trial, according to Benedito in earlier hearings, under the provincial board for his involvement in “ghost road projects” in the town of San Vicente, along with his municipal treasurer. Villapando was then convicted of graft by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2014.
Witnesses Randy Arimado and a Dr. Rolly Sarmiento were invited to testify for the defense’s side, but ultimately did not appear before the provincial board on their scheduled date. The Wednesday hearing was dissolved after it was decided upon by the board that Danao will submit a written offer of exhibits. The offer is due on Monday (September 7), after which the prosecution will be given five days to submit their comments.
The Sanggunian is expected to issue a verdict before the preventive suspension lapses 60 days after July 28, the day Danao was suspended.