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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Gov. Jocel C. Baac voluntarily stepped down from office last Friday to serve his 6-month suspension was meted him by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Northern Luzon after allegedly manhandling a provincial official inside his office in May 2015.
The Ombudsman found merit in the complaint filed by the Kalinga provincial board which accused Baac of grave misconduct, oppression, abuse of authority and conduct unbecoming of a public officer for allegedly punching board secretary Mathew Matbagan when he invited the latter to his office to inquire on the words that were used in a resolution regarding the operation of a hospital which he found not appealing to him.
Marlo Iringan, Cordillera director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, served the suspension order and installed Vice Gov. James Edduba as acting governor until the expiration of the 6-month period.
Subsequently, senior board member Shirlynne Dasayon-Alunday was installed as the province’s Acting Vice Governor for the duration that Edubba will be serving as Acting Governor.
Based on the complaint against the local chief executive, Baac lost his temper when he read the board resolution that sought to close down the Kalinga Gabriella Mija Kim Medical Center, a hospital donated by the Medical Peace Foundation of South Korea in 2007.
The governor then summoned Matbagan and confronted him about the words used in the said resolution which were not appealing to him and subsequently punched him.
In 2012, Baac was suspended for one month after he allegedly attacked a local radio personality inside the announcer’s booth of a government radio station based in the city after he was unceremoniously criticized for his programs and projects.
Iringan, who administered the oath of office of Edubba as acting Governor, described the turnover ceremony as smooth sailing and was done in an orderly and peaceful manner unlike in other places where there is resistance in the service of suspension orders because incumbent officials refuse to vacate their posts in lieu of their temporary successors.
The DILG-CAR official appreciated Baac’s gesture of respecting the rule of law when he calmly accepted his suspension order which he personally served to the latter in his office.
He expressed his high regards to the governor when he allowed the law of succession to take its course with his prompt action for Vice Governor James Edubba to take his oath as acting Governor so as not to disrupt the delivery of public service to the people of Kalinga.
Sources disclosed that it was Baac that personally followed up the implementation of his suspension order with the Office of the Ombudsman and the DILG central office so that he will be able to serve the prescribed penalty of the offense he committed to avoid the issue being used to discredit him in the future.
On May 30, 2017, the Undersecretary for Local Government issued a directive for the DILG-CAR to cause the immediate implementation of the decision of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon which found Baac administratively liable for simple misconduct, abuse of authority, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.