Councilor Mabatid defends herself

CEBU City Councilor Prisca Niña Mabatid dragged the names of her partymates at Barug-PDP Laban, claiming that these two politicians engineered the latest issue against her—she allegedly protects a City official linked to sexual harassment complaints.

The businesswoman-turned-politician delivered her privilege speech during the City Council’s regular session on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, saying she did not urge any of three City Hall employees to withdraw their complaints against Lorenzo Basamot, head of the Department of General Services’ records and archives management division.

Mabatid presented the conversation she had with one of the complainants.

“I never asked these ladies to stop the case. What is there to stop when there is no case filed in court or in the Ombudsman yet? I even encouraged them to file the case,” she said.

Politically motivated

Mabatid said the issue against her is politically motivated, accusing former councilor Pastor Alcover and former Apas barangay captain Ramil Ayuman of being the people behind the issue thrown against her.

“The allegations of Mr. Alcover and Mr. Ayuman are not true. I do not expect these people to say something nice about me anyway because every day they are harassing me,” she said.

Mabatid, Ayuman and Alcover ran in the May 13 elections under the Barug-PDP Laban party. Ayuman and Alcover lost.

Alcover, in a social media post, showed his support for the three complainants. The post mentioned Ayuman as the one who pushed the complainants to file charges against Basamot, former barangay captain of Kamputhaw.

Ayuman, in a text message to SunStar Cebu, said Mabatid should resign as chairperson of the committee on women, children and family affairs.

“Niña should not divert the issue. Hello, Niña? Please focus on the issue. Again, you’re playing the victim. The issue here is you’re trying to convince the victim of Basamot to settle and desist from pursuing the complaint. Where is your delicadeza as chairperson on women and family affairs? I am calling Gabriela group to denounce the actuation of Niña,” Ayuman said.

Sexual harassment

City Attorney Rey Gealon said Basamot may face a complaint for violating the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 before the Office of the City Prosecutor.

The City Legal Office is now conducting an administrative investigation on the alleged sexual harassment.

Basamot will be accorded due process. He will be summoned to file his counter-affidavit, said Gealon.

“We will leave no stone unturned in the investigation,” he said.

Preventive suspension

In a separate interview, Mayor Edgardo Labella said Basamot may be placed under preventive suspension if the evidence against him is strong. Basamot could face a separate administrative complaint for grave misconduct.

He said Basamot’s presence might prejudice the investigation.

Labella, however, said he would wait for the recommendations from the City Legal Office.

Basamot, in an earlier interview, denied he forced himself on the three complainants.

After the City’s tree-planting activity in Barangay Taptap last Oct. 5, he went to the house of his staff for a drinking spree around 2 p.m. When he got there, one of the complainants, who he said was already drunk, approached him and asked if he would buy her a cake since it was her birthday.

He told her that he would do it on one condition: she would allow him to kiss her on both cheeks. She said no, and Basamot said he did not insist. (JJL)