Mountain Province Governor and Mayor face DILG Complaints

Baguio City – Acting Governor of Mountain Province, Bonifacio Lacwasan Jr. and Natonin Municipality Mayor Mateo Chiyawan, are accused of graft and corruption charges before the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
In Complaints filed before the DILG in January and recently endorsed by the Office of the President to the DILG, Lacwasan and Chiyawan are charged of violating RA6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees and RA3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act among other violation of laws.
The Complaints were based on Commission on Audit (COA) Reports and Memorandums issued against Lacwasan and Chiyawan respectively.
It was observed and reported by the COA that the Office of the Governor represented by Lacwasan and the PDRRM Office purchased two (2) Chevrolet Trailblazer SUVs costing P3,700,000.00 using Local Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Funds instead of an Emergency and Disaster Response Vehicle.
It was discovered that the Trailblazer SUVs were being used as personal service vehicles by the office of the Governor and the PDRRM Office and not used exclusively for rescue and response activities.
The COA added that “both offices were already issued with service vehicles even before the purchase of the new vehicles.” The COA opined that the purchase of the Chevrolet Trailblazers using disaster funds when the “vehicles did not serve the purpose of the fund for disaster rescue and response activities” runs contrary to DILG Memorandums and RA10121.
The Complaint alleged that the illegal purchase may be tantamount to corrupt practices as funds were used for the benefit of certain government officials only instead of the public during times of disasters to the disadvantage of the government and the public.
Another highlight of the Complaint against Lacwasan is the absence of established policy guidelines on the hiring /re – hiring of personnel under Job Order contrary to provisions of PD1445.
It was noted in the COA Report that a total of 1,126 personnel were hired not regularly through the Provincial HRMO but directly through Lacwasan who is the Provincial Governor or his representative, or directly through some members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. These were done without written policy guidelines but mere verbal instructions or agreements as to the applicants’ qualifications, job description and rates.
The Complaint alleged that these constituted graft and corrupt practices because the Governor gave unwarranted benefits or preference over personnel who may not have been qualified and public funds were irregularly used.
Meanwhile, Mayor Mateo Chiyawan was charged by the DILG before the Office of the Ombudsman for his absence during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong in Natonin last September 2018. Administrative cases were filed against Chiyawan and other absentee Mayors in the region.
The DILG report stated that “DILG endorsed to the Office of the Ombudsman cases against five (5) Northern Luzon mayors who were absent from their posts during the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong in September 2018 while six others were issued a written admonition after an investigation into their conduct was done by the department.
Malaya said that based on the findings and recommendations of the DILG Central Office validation team, five mayors, whose explanations were found to be “inadequate and unjustified” and “whose acts probably violated existing laws, rules, and regulations,” will face administrative proceedings before the Office of the Ombudsman.”
A similar charge will also be likely made against Chiyawan for his absence during the onslaught of Typhoon Rosita last October 2018. Despite notices and advisories upon him of the impending typhoon and to enforce preemptive evacuation, Chiyawan was absent in his municipality.
Some 17 persons were killed and some remain missing when a DPWH building collapsed in Natonin during typhoon Rosita.
Chiyawan was being blamed for the tragedy that happened during Typhoon Rosita for his alleged non-heeding of recommendations from the MGB and the OCD-Cordillera that areas of Natonin are high-risk and non-buildable areas.
COA Reports also revealed that earlier, the LGU of Natonin had “inadequate rescue and response equipment” contrary to DILG Memorandum Circular 2012-73. The COA advised the LGU that failure to comply with the Circular to provide the necessary equipments may lead to loss of lives due to prolonged effect of calamity during disasters.

Amianan Balita Ngayon