CA junks Bulacan town councilors’ appeal on annulment of mayor’s suspension over disrupted session
The Court of Appeals (CA) has denied the appeal of four members of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of San Ildefonso, Bulacan, seeking to hold Mayor Paula Carla Galvez-Tan administratively liable for disrupting their session in January 2017 over a municipal budget dispute.
In a recent 2-page resolution, the CA 8th Division said incumbent councilors Eriberto Magbitang and Edgardo Vergel and former councilors Alexander Galvez and Roderick Salvador merely rehashed the issues it already resolved before.
The court sustained its March 1, 2019 decision to annul the Ombudsman’s nine-month suspension order against Galvez-Tan on jurisdictional grounds.
“Finding no cogent or compelling reason to reconsider the assailed Decision promulgated on 01 March 2019, the Motion for Reconsideration is denied for lack of merit,” read the resolution penned by Associate Justice Ramon Bato, Jr.
“Discussing again the ratio decidendi of the assailed Decision is to belabor the issues ad infinitum,” it added.
Tellingly, the appeal was filed by the private complainants and not the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman in its April 19, 2018 decision had found Galvez-Tan guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and simple misconduct, and ordered her suspension for nine months.
But, the CA in its March 1 decision ruled that the Ombudsman “relinquished the power and authority” over the case to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Bulacan.
This was because then-Assistant Ombudsman for Luzon Bayani Jacinto, in a May 24, 2017 letter, referred the councilors’ complaint to then-Vice-Governor (now-Governor) Daniel Fernando for “appropriate administrative proceedings.”
The councilors alleged that on January 24, 2017, 11 a.m., Galvez-Tan and her bodyguards barged into the session hall and demanded that the SB immediately approve the budget she submitted.
She was quoted as saying:
* “Wag tayong maglokohan (Let’s not make fools of ourselves).”
* “Wala akong pakilalam sa itinakdang minuto; ang iniitindi ko ay ang mga tao sa labas (I don’t give a damn about the proper time; what I care about is the people outside).”
* Proper session, proper session, eh napapakain ba ng proper session ang mga tao sa labas (Does a proper session feed the people outside)?”
* “Hindi kayo makakalabas nang wala kayong maayos na sagot at statement (You cannot leave without giving a proper answer and statement).”
Galvez-Tan disputed the account as politically motivated and said she quietly observed the proceedings.