Binaliw councilor cries foul over 30-day suspension

·3 min read

FOR failing to attend a Barangay Council session, a councilor of Barangay Binaliw in Cebu City was ordered suspended for 30 days by the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas.

The Ombudsman cited Councilor Daisy Ople Ybañez for simple neglect of duty.

Binaliw Barangay Captain Viviane Ruste said on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, that she will meet with Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Cebu City officer-in-charge Ian Kenneth Lucero to ask for guidance on the implementation of the Ombudsman’s order.

Ruste filed a complaint for “conduct unbecoming of a public officer, gross neglect of duty” before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas against six Binaliw councilors in 2019 for failing to attend the regular Barangay Council session last May 6, 2019.

The other councilors involved were Renato Seno Sr., Sante Cabrera, Edmund Biano, Ronald Mingo and Kissy Amour Bacor.

In an interview, Ybañez said she already filed a motion for reconsideration (MR) on the Feb. 22, 2021 decision of the Office of the Ombudsman finding her guilty for simple neglect of duty.

“It is our legal position that I am not guilty of any misconduct or violation of any law. I have been a dedicated public servant with a proven track record,” she told SunStar Cebu via Facebook messenger.

Ybañez said she believes she is a victim of politicking.

Ruste refuted this, however, saying she is only doing her job as the barangay captain.

“There were six councilors who were absent, but I was able to file the complaint against her (Ybañez) first. That time that was her only violation, although she has since committed other violations in the barangay like getting in the way of our projects... As for the other councilors, I was not able to push through with the complaints because of the pandemic,” she said.

Ruste said the six councilors refused to receive their reduced honorarium at the time, arguing that their absence should be excused since they reportedly suffered from indigestion after attending a fiesta celebration.

She said she would have excused the councilors’ absence had they informed her ahead that they were not feeling well.

The Ombudsman’s decision was signed on March 24, 2021 and was endorsed to the DILG.

Ruste said she received a copy of the decision last July 28 and her counsel received a copy of Ybañez’s MR on Aug. 19.

Since Ybañez reportedly did not raise new arguments in the MR, Ruste’s counsel only filed a motion to oppose the MR and insisted on implementing the Ombudsman’s decision.

SunStar Cebu obtained a copy of the memorandum signed by DILG 7 Director Leocadio Trovela dated Sept. 17, 2021, informing Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella about the implementation of the order to suspend Ybañez.

On Friday, Sept. 24, Lucero told reporters that they implemented last week two other suspension orders from the Office of the Ombudsman against two local officials for simple neglect of duty.

He, however, refused to name the two officials since in both cases, the DILG was not the complainant. (WBS)

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