(PN File)

The provincial board has put on hold the anti-red tape case filed by Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation (CMDC) against Narra Mayor Gerandy Danao, for not issuing a mayor’s permit in 2019.

Vice Governor Dennis Socrates told reporters in an interview Tuesday that they cannot act on Danao’s case now as it is covered by election period restrictions. The election period started last January 9 that prohibits among others, suspension of elected officials.

“Actually, inabutan na ito ng ban on investigation. Ang mangyayari ngayon sa committee of the whole, I will just suggest na i-archive ang case, until after the election period,” Socrates said.

“Walang mangyayari, matutulog muna [ang kaso]. After election period ay saka pa lang bubuksan ulit ang kaso,” Socrates added.

He said the decision on Danao’s case will also depend on whether he will be reelected or not.

“Kung hindi siya mare-elect by the time, ay madi-dismiss ‘yan ng next set of sanggunian members. Kung mare-elect naman sya ay paguusapan pa kung pwedeng ‘yong reelection nya ay maging applicable ang Aguinaldo Doctrine na isinantabi na, pero pwedeng pagdebatehan ‘yon,” he explained.

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) recommended Danao’s suspension to the provincial board last December 2021, a move which his spokesperson Jojo Gastanes claimed as mere harassment citing Commission on Elections (COMELEC) rules that there should be no suspension to be imposed during the election period.

“Nag-file ang Citinickel sa ARTA dahil hindi nag-issue si mayor ng Mayor’s Permit noong 2019 at ang ARTA ay nag-recommend sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan pero kailangan pa rin dinggin ‘yan [bago ma-suspend] pero [tingin ko] harassment na lang ‘yan kasi may kaso din silang na-file sa Ombudsman,” Gastanes said.

The company also confirmed to Palawan News that the ARTA’s recommendation to the provincial board in December 2021 started with the alleged unsettled P94 million tax deficiency for years 2012 and 2015.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.