AFTER a fiesta celebration was held in his village on June 28, 2020, Calamba Barangay Captain Victor Quijano Jr., was issued a show cause order by the Department of the Interior and Local Government Central Visayas (DILG 7).
DILG Assistant Secretary for Public Security and Safety Alexander Macario, with DILG 7 Director Leocadio Trovela and DILG Cebu City Officer-in-Charge and Local Government Monitoring and Evaluation Division 7 Chief Ian Kenneth Lucero, served the show cause order to Quijano Tuesday afternoon, June 30.
This was an hour after Cebu City Legal Office Chief Rey Gealon sent Quijano a show cause order.
He was asked to explain or justify his alleged failure to perform the mandated duties and responsibilities of a local chief executive during a state of public health emergency and not be charged for it.
Photos and videos showing residents of Sitio Mahayahay, Brgy. Calamba not wearing masks and not observing physical distancing during the fiesta celebration and holding a mini disco party on Sunday, June 28, went viral on social media.
Quijano has 48 hours from receipt of the order to submit his written explanation as to why no administrative charges should be filed against him.
Sought for comment, Quijano said he had planned to submit his explanation on Wednesday morning, July 1.
He said it is hard to control the movement of around 14,000 residents in his barangay while relying only on their barangay officials and 18 barangay tanods.
He said: “What happened in Mahayahay, I was too complacent because there’s a councilor who also lives there. As it turns out, the councilor was not able to admonish the residents.”
“I would also like to clarify that during the mini disco, they didn’t use huge sound boxes, they used a bluetooth speaker,” he added.
He said that the reported drinking session should not have happened. He said he had warned his constituents not to organize any mass gatherings such as a procession during the fiesta.
He said the police are now investigating into the matter.
On Monday, June 29, a show cause order was also issued against Basak San Nicolas Village Chief Norman Navarro following the conduct of a religious procession on June 27.
The Department reminded barangay captains in the region to faithfully execute and administer the laws, ordinances, policies and directives relative to the imposition of community quarantine in the country.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año earlier said that any violation of the quarantine protocol will not be tolerated and those responsible will be made to account.
Aside from the DILG 7, the Police Regional Office Central Visayas (PRO 7) is also planning to file charges against those behind the incident at A. Lopez, Brgy. Calamba.
Police Brigadier Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, PRO 7 director, said he has instructed his personnel to prepare the criminal charges to be filed against those behind the alleged gathering there.
Ferro admitted that he is worried that if the residents of A. Lopez will continue to defy quarantine policies, it will take some time before Cebu’s quarantine status would return to normal.
He called upon the community to cooperate as this is also for their own good.
Meanwhile, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma called on the Cebuano faithful to uphold respect and unity amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his pastoral letter on Covid-19 pandemic issued on June 29, Palma appealed to the faithful to maintain a sense of courtesy and respect for local government officials.
This translates from the barangay captains to the mayors, governor, the appointed bodies of the Office of the President including the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, the recently instituted Covid Task Force for Central Visayas, the police and the military personnel.
“I recognize the sincerity and sacrifices of these government servants as they respond with the best intentions and dedication to their duties, responsibilities and accountability to all of us,” Palma said.
The prelate highlighted the importance of continued faith-filled prayers and of interpersonal relationships amid the health crisis. (WBS, AYB)