Kalinga board condemns mauling of secretary


TABUK CITY – The provincial board here unanimously approved a resolution ‘strongly condemning’ the mauling of its secretary, Mathew Matbagan, by no less than the father of the province, Gov. Jocel C. Baac, a staunch ally of the Aquino administration, inside the latter’s office Monday noon.

During the board’s regular session Tuesday, the local legislative body cited the approval of the resolution of condemnation is an initial step towards the initiation of the appropriate legal action on the unethical and unprofessional act of Baac and to show support to the mauled secretary, who was on official leave at that time following the unfortunate incident.

Boardmember Gelacio Bongngat, in a privilege speech, asserted that Gov. Baac clearly displayed grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct since the mauling incident was done inside his office where he was in full control of the situation and in front of numerous visitors who were present in the governor’s office at the time of the incident.

Bongngat pointed out the resolution declaring the Gabriella Mija Kim medical center in barangay Agbannawag as an extension of the Kalinga provincial hospital and directing the governor to restore the health services thereat being questioned by Baac was made by the board itself as a collegial body and not by the victim.

“We challenge Gov. Baac to question the action of the board and not Matbagan because the resolution was the act of the board,” Bongngat stressed.

Boardmembers Bongngat, Camilo Lammawin, Mark Aldrich Diasen, Chester Alunday Alonzo Saclag and Jay Harly Duguiang voted in favour of the resolution of condemnation and agreed to sign the same while boardmembers Dave Odiem, Jerry Puday, Randy Ao-wat and Emilio Kitongan signified their intention to sign the resolution after reviewing the same.

“We can only surmise that the act done by the provincial governor Jocel Collado Baac to his subordinate and a chief of office of the provincial government of Kalinga, Mathew Matbagan, the secretary to the provincial board, deserves the highest degree of condemnation to the strongest sense of the word,” Bongngat added.

Boardmember Bongngat called on the attention of all provincial officials and employees to be cautious in their dealings with the governor, emphasizing that he would again repeat the same offense if no one would be brave enough to stand in the truth and air sympathy to their co-employee, Matbagan, against the seemingly irked provincial governor.

Baac, a stalwart of the Liberal Party (LP) in the Cordillera, reportedly called the attention of Mathew Matbagan, of legal age, married, provincial board secretary and a resident of Bulanao, Tabuk City, Kalinga and asked him to report to his office to clarify about the pending resolution prepared by the boardmembers declaring Gabriella Mija Kim Medical Center located at barangay Agbannawag here as an annex of the Kalinga Provincial hospital.

`While inside Baac’s office, the governor confronted Matbagan about some unpleasant terms that were contained in the said resolution that subsequently forced him to get mad, grabbed Matbagan by his shirt and punched him on his face and the different parts of his body.

The mauling incident only stopped when the security escorts of the governor entered the office to pacify the tensed situation. Matbagan tried to explain the contents of the said resolution but the governor allegedly refused to listen to his justifications.

Matbagan narrated to police investigators that prior to the said incident, Baac, in his capacity as governor, ordered medical workers deployed in the said medical center to go back to their respective mother units. Upon learning about Baac’s order, the provincial board immediately convened and drafted a resolution declaring it as an annex of the Kalinga Provincial hospital.

Matbagan claimed Baac was reportedly insulted by the words ‘directing the latter to restore the health services thereat’ which the governor interpreted as an insult to his stature as the father of the province.

“We will pursue the appropriate charges to be filed against him in order to teach him a lesson not to repeat similar abusive acts in the future,” Matbagan stressed.

Based on a medical certificate, Matbagan sustained lacerations, abrasions on the different parts of his body and hematoma on his face.

Aside from being charged for multiple physical injuries, Baac stands to face administrative charges before the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) that might result to his suspension.

It can be recalled that Baac was suspended for 30 days after he reportedly mauled Jerome Tabanganay, a local broadcaster, inside the booth of a government radio station here sometime in 2012.

Tabanganay was a staunch critic of Baac that prompted him to confront the former and maul him inside the booth of the local radio station.

As of presstime, Baac could not be reached for his comment on the latest mauling incident that he is being linked to.