Lapu-Lapu’s village chiefs take office issue to Ombudsman

TWENTY-EIGHT of Lapu-Lapu City’s 30 barangay captains filed complaints against Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan over the alleged illegal eviction of Rep. Paz Radaza from her office in City Hall.

Complaints for grave coercion, grave misconduct, conduct unbecoming of a public officer, grave abuse of authority, oppression and violation of Section 3 (e ) of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft And Corrupt Practices Act were filed against Chan before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas on Sept. 4, 2019.

Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President Eduardo Cuizon and 27 other village chiefs stood as complainants, though only 25 of them were able to sign the complaint.

For the barangay captains, it was not fair of Chan to evict Radaza from her office since barangay officials and their constituents often go there to avail themselves of her office’s programs.

The eviction, they said, was illegal because it did not follow due process.

In their complaint, Cuizon cited Chan’s order to destroy the rear door of Radaza’s office on July 1, his first day in office as city mayor.

They also alleged that Chan’s office staff harassed the staff members of Radaza.

They also said the mayor did not let the complaint filed by private individuals against Radaza run its course. Instead, he went on to block the entry of Radaza’s employees to her office by covering the doors with plywood on Aug. 13, Cuizon said.

Radaza’s office was covered by wood paneling and padlocked by the office of Chan, who insisted that City Ordinance 14-200-2019, which allows Radaza to hold a district office at the City Hall, was “ineffective and invalid.”

There is still an unresolved case filed against Radaza and five city officials before the Regional Trial Court that sought to annul City Ordinance 14-200-2019.

Three private individuals—Teobanes Patalinghug, Humprey Elvira and Abzyl Bechayda— sought to annul the ordinance and filed the case against Radaza, former vice mayor Marcial Ycong and councilors Cuizon, Flaviano Hiyas Jr., Ricardo Amores and Laika Tampus on July 10.

Also on Aug. 13, Chan’s staff allegedly harassed Radaza’s office personnel again, according to the complaint.

For these incidents, the barangay captains want Chan to be sanctioned for abuse of power.

“There has been no continuity of the services provided by the congresswoman’s office because of the closure of her office. Aren’t we here to serve? What’s going on? The elections were long finished. We’re just surprised because it’s just an office and it has been there since 2010,” said Cuizon.

Aside from the complaint filed at the Ombudsman’s office, the village chiefs also plan to file criminal complaints against the mayor.

When sought for comment, Chan said he wonders why the barangay captains are meddling in City Hall affairs.

He said the barangays have numerous concerns that the village chiefs should pay attention to instead of filing complaints against him.

“Nganong sila may mokiha? Labot diay sila sa akong opisina sa City Hall? Dapat focus sila sa ilang trabaho. Ang mga kapitan duna man silay kaugalingong barangay hall. Ang dunay full control ngari, ang mayor man. Unya ug problema ang hisgotan, naay problema sa city hall naa say sa barangay. Ayaw lang sila paapila sa problema sa syudad (Why are they the ones filing the complaint? Are they involved in my office in City Hall? They should be focusing on their work. Barangay captains have their own barangay halls. In City Hall, it’s the mayor who has full control. And if you talk about problems, there are problems in City Hall and there are also problems in the barangays. Don’t have them meddle in the problems of the city),” the mayor said.

Only two barangay captains—Pajo’s and Sta. Rosa’s—are allied with Chan; the other 28 are allied with the Radazas.