CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/12 Sept) – One of the legal counsels of Save CDO Now Movement is confident that Mayor Vicente Emano will be suspended “either this December or January of next year.”
But Emano’s legal counsel, Francis Ku, vowed to exhaust all legal remedies for his client.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Save CDO Now legal counsel James Judith said he is confident that the memoranda and evidences they submitted to the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) Trial and Investigation Division Team from Manila last Monday are enough to hold Emano accountable for the lives lost and damaged properties after tropical storm Sendong wrought havoc in the city last year.
He said his “gut feeling” tells him Emano will be suspended. “At any rate, I feel confident with our position and evidence,” Judith added.
He also said that it is high time that justice be rendered to the thousands who perished December last year. “This will be the defining moment for Kagay-anons, a triumph for law and the (legal) process,” added Judith.
Last Monday, DILG investigating officer Ranny Spencer Palisoc told local reporters after their “closed-door” preliminary hearing at the regional office of DILG that they will no longer set another hearing on the administrative case against Emano since both parties concurred to submit their respective memoranda.
“We have given both parties 30 days to submit their respective position papers and evidences,” Palisoc told reporters, adding that it would take the investigating team at least 60 days to hand its decision.
However, Ku countered that they are prepared to fight it out in the courts even if it reaches the Supreme Court.
“We still hope to win the case,” said Ku. He noted in a text message that there are many legal remedies, like filing motion for reconsideration appeal to the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.
Save CDO Now Movement members Dr. Vincent Tero, Pastor Raul Ramon Roa, ex-councilors Celestino Ocio and Teodulfo Lao and then Barangay Gusa chair Enrico Salcedo charged Emano with gross negligence and dereliction of duty during the onslaught of Sendong last December.
They argued that had Emano heeded the warnings of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration (Pagasa) and convened the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council as stipulated in the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2010, the number of fatalities and destruction to properties would have been substantially lower.
For his part, Ku told reporters last Monday that the administrative case against his client is politically motivated.
“We would like to be clarified on the context of this investigation. We believe that this is political persecution,” he said. (Cong B. Corrales / MindaNews)