Kidapawan councilors file charges vs Sanggunian secretary for failure to attend special session

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 9 Sep) – Twelve members of the city council here filed administrative charges at the regional office of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) against the secretary to the Sangguniang Panlungsod for his alleged failure to attend a special session held last August discussing realignment of funds for the city’s campaign against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Lawyer Christopher Cabilen was charged with gross neglect of duty, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and discourtesy in the performance of official functions with a prayer for the imposition of preventive suspension.

The complaint was filed on September 5 and was received by the CSC Region 12 on September 8.

The complainants were City Councilors Melvin Lamata Jr., Maritess Malaluan, Airene Claire Pagal, Gregorio Lonzaga, Carlo Agamon, Aljo Cris Dizon, Peter Salac, Lauro Taynan Jr., Junares John Amador, and ex-officio members Morgan Melodias (president of the Association of Barangay Captains), Cenn Teena Taynan (chair of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation), and Radin Igwas, Indigenous Peoples mandatory representative.

For the complainants, Cabilen’s absence during the special session on August 26 was done “willfully” and “intentionally” even though he was informed two days before the session.

Cabilen reportedly sought a written resolution from the Sanggunian to compel him to attend the session. Such resolution, according to the complainants, was handed to Cabilen during the special session.

“By repeatedly refusing to attend the special session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod despite several directives from the body to that effect, Cabilen clearly showed a flagrant and culpable refusal or unwillingness to perform his statutory duty as Secretary to the Sanggunian,” the complaint said.

Also absent during the special session were Vice-Mayor Jivy Roe “Jiv-Jiv” Bombeo, who is the presiding officer, and Councilor Ruby Padilla-Sison.

The complainants said they proceeded with the special session by electing Councilor Amador as temporary presiding officer and Councilor Taynan as the secretary-designate to record the minutes.

During the session, the Sanggunian approved the passage of the ordinance on supplemental budget number 9, which was certified urgent by Mayor Joseph Evangelista.

The office of the mayor said they submitted to the Sanggunian last July a copy of the proposed supplemental budget number 9, which amounted to P20 million.

Such amount, according to Evangelista, was taken from current and ongoing appropriations, which were realigned for anti-COVID-19 measures.

This included fuel allocation for Emergency Call 911 and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office; purchase of medical supplies like personal protective equipment, sanitizers, alcohols, and other gadgets for the frontliners; and hazard pay to those in the frontlines, including the doctors, nurses, medical technologists, radio technologists, utility workers assigned at the quarantine facilities, and other health personnel involved in monitoring and treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Meantime, the complainants said Cabilen should, during the pendency of the investigation and resolution of the complaint, be preventively suspended pursuant to Rule Number 7 of the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.

Cabilen, when asked of his reaction, said that he has yet to study the complaint before issuing any statement.

The lawyer admitted he was not a given copy of such complaint from the Civil Service Commission (CSC-12). (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)