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CA suspends Sibonga ex-mayor for failing to act on rival’s business permit application

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the six-month suspension of former Sibonga, Cebu, Mayor and now-councilor Lionel Bacaltos for refusing to act on the business permit application of a political rival.

In a recent 12-page decision, the CA 18th Division found Bacaltos guilty of grave abuse of discretion and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service arising from the complaint of former Sibonga mayor and current Barangay Poblacion chair Nestor Ponce.

The CA overturned the Ombudsman’s dismissal of the administrative case against Bacaltos.

Ponce accused Bacaltos of failing to act on his business permit application for his prawn farm in Barangays Simala and Bagacay. He also claimed Bacaltos made him submit additional requirements that were irrelevant and not required by law, under the threat of business closure.

The CA disagreed with the Ombudsman’s finding that the case lacked substantial evidence due to Ponce’s supposed failure to file his position paper.

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