Court stops suspension of Abra mayor

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BANGUED, Abra  – The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 2 here issued a 17-day temporary restraining order extending an earlier similar order suspending the implementation of a directive for the 60-day preventive suspension of Lacub Mayor Estelita Bersamina for grave misconduct in office and oppression.

Judge Corpus Alzate issued the 17-day temporary restraining order in order to warrant a full blown hearing on the case following allegations of the aggrieved party that there was no actual hearings done by the provincial board to hear her side of the complaint filed against her.

Earlier, Rosalia A. Bucyaya, in her complaint against Bersamina, alleged that she was forced to retire due to the alleged pressure from the mayor and claimed that Bersamina caused the devaluation of her property being used as her bail bond for the criminal cases which the mayor allegedly caused to be filed against her.

For her part, Loredima M. Molano raised several issues against the mayor, particularly the non-payment of the differential of her salary from February 1, 2011 was paid and also there were no reasons or arguments on here belated reinstatement in violation of the clear mandate of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for her immediate reinstatement thereby making the circumstances of the guilt of the mayor strong.

The provincial board ruled the cases filed against Mayor Bersamina is grave as the acts alluded to against her were acts which may be punishable of expulsion from office.

Both complaints and defendant pointed out in their respective pleadings some government documents as well as named some municipal government employees in support of their respective causes of action and defences and as such, with the gravity of the offense established therein, coupled with immense power that the complainant yields as the local chief executive of Lacub, Abra, there is great probability that her continuance in the office could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records and pieces of evidence.

With the presence of all the elements for the issuance of preventive suspension is in the case of the complainant Molano, the provincial board recommended for the issuance of an order for the preventive suspension of Mayor Bersamina for a period of not more than sixty days upon service of order of suspension.

Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin issued such order but the aggrieved party questioned the legality of the same in court that warranted the issuance of the temporary restraining order.

By Dexter A. See

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