COTABATO CITY – Malacañang has turned around a preventive suspension order issued by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of North Cotabato against a town mayor.
Lawyer Noel Gretare, counsel for Mayor Jean Dino Roquero of Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, said Wednesday the latter, being the subject of the SP suspension order, will continue to function as the town’s chief executive.
“The Malacañang order is very clear that Roquero is still the mayor of Pigcawayan town,” he said.
A part of the copy of the Malacañang order read: “The resolutions dated 18 August 2020 and 13 October 2020 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cotabato are hereby reversed and set aside.”
The decision dated Aug. 18, 2021, was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea.
Earlier, the provincial board, chaired by North Cotabato Vice Gov. Emmylou Mendoza, issued a preventive suspension order against Roquero while the administrative case against him is pending before the board.
The case stemmed from administrative charges filed by seven local vendors against Roquero before the provincial board for revoking Municipal Executive Order No. 42 issued by his predecessor granting rights to stall applicants under the town’s economic enterprise code.
Gretare said Roquero found irregularities in the granting of rights to manage stalls beside the municipal gymnasium so he ordered to revoke the EO issued by the previous town administration.
The mayor also found out that some of the grantees were related to the former town mayor.
On August 18, 2020, the provincial board issued a preventive suspension against Roquero who quickly filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied outright.
With this, Roquero filed a petition before Malacañang to reverse the SP order.
“Malacañang found no basis for SP to place the mayor under preventive suspension and reversed the order,” Gretare said, adding that Roquero continues to serve as town mayor.
Under the local government code, a local elected official can only be placed under preventive suspension if the evidence of guilt is strong or has the possibility that he will influence the investigation.
North Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco welcomed and favored the decision of the Office of the President on rejecting the SP resolution putting Roquero under preventive suspension.
The administrative case against Roquero continues before the provincial board and the mayor, through his lawyer, has filed a motion for dismissal of the charges. (PNA)