Mayor, vice mayor in NorthCot heed suspension order

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/5 April) – The North Cotabato provincial board has slapped a 30-day suspension against Mayor Romeo Arana and Vice Mayor Albert Luis Garduque of Midsayap town in connection with an administrative case filed against them.

The duo immediately vacated their posts Thursday after receiving the suspension order, said board member Jomar Cerebo, chair of the Committee on Ethics and Blue Ribbon.

Cerebo said they issued the order against Arana and Garduque to prevent them from influencing the outcome of the investigation, which will start next week.

The official said the owner of the Marcos Construction, Inc., Marlene Custodio, accused Arana and Garduque of abusing their authority.

The complainant alleged that the two officials prevented the company from constructing an expansion of the town’s public market despite winning the bidding in early 2013, Cerebo said.

In an interview over Cotabato City-based DXMS, Arana denied any wrongdoing, noting he heeded the suspension order to pave the way for the investigation.

“Since this is just a preventive suspension and does not mean I am already at fault, I will heed the order,” the mayor said.

Arana said that even before the filing of the administrative case, he created an ad hoc committee whose task is to conduct a dialogue between Custodio and Engr. Boy Salanatin, an owner of another construction company.

Salanatin earlier questioned the bidding for the expansion of the municipal public market conducted in 2013 by the administration of former Mayor Manuel Rabara.

He lost to Custodio’s Marcos Construction during the bidding.

Members of the municipal Bids and Awards Committee were invited to the dialogue. But it did not take place as both sides refused to attend.

Custodio said she filed the case against Arana after he issued an executive order annulling the bidding award issued by former mayor Rabara.

Just like Arana, Vice Mayor Garduque said he obliged to the suspension order of the provincial board.

The first and second councilors assumed as acting mayor and acting vice mayor, respectively. (MindaNews)