By Mortz C. Ortigoza
BINMALEY – The mayor here who faces two administrative cases at the Sangguniang Panlungsod (provincial board) assails the argument of the lawyer of his complainant Leon Castro that he violated the law by appointing his relative as the administrator of this town.
Mayor Simplicio Rosario rebutted the argument of lawyer Manuel Manuel that he ran roughshod with the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees when he appointed lawyer and this town’s administrator Herminio Escat, his relative within the third degree of affinity.
“Kung i-appoint mo ng permanently that’s bawal but if the appointing authority is co-terminus with the appointee puwedi po iyan. Wala namang masama diyan. Ano naman ang kukunin ko na maging empleyado ko kung hindi ko mapag-katiwalaan,” he stressed in Filipino.
Mayor Rosario cited the case of Dagupan City former Mayor Al Fernandez when he appointed his son Alvin as his chief of staff in running the affairs of the city.
“So kailangan iyong i-appoint mo na confidante mo. Kung ano ang pagkakamali niya doon sagot mo (as mayor)”.
Escat is the husband of the mayor‘s niece Maricel who is also his secretary.
Maricel’s mother Felicitas is Rosario’s sister.
Manuel and Castro in press statements assailed the appointment of Escat as a patent violation of the Code of Conduct .
In the Code’s Rule VII public disclosure’s clause it says that every official or employee shall identify and disclose under oath to the best of his knowledge and information, his relatives in the government , up to the fourth civil degree of relationship, either of consanguinity or affinity, including bilas, inso , and balae, in the prescribed form, Annex A, which shall be filed; (a) within thirty (30) days after assumption of office, the information contained therein must be reckoned as of his first day of office;(b) on or before April 30 of every year thereafter, the information contained therein must be reckoned as of the end of the preceding year; or (c) within thirty (30) days after separation from the service.
Manuel told the media that Escat lied on his notarized personal data sheet he submitted to the local government unit here when he said he is a resident of No. 38 San Isidro Norte when he is a resident of the United States of America as a green card holder, and answered “No” when asked in the sheet if he is related within the 4th degree of consanguinity and affinity to the appointing or recommending authority that was the mayor.
Rosario rebuffed Manuel in citing at the hearing called by the provincial board the case of Caasi versus the Commission on Election.
Caasi versus Comelec was about the disqualification case of mayoral candidate of Bolinao, Pangasinan Mateo Caasi against Merito Miguel - his rival.
Caasi said Miguel was a green card holder and thus disqualified to run for the top public post of the town. The Supreme Court favored Caasi saying Miguel’s immigration to the United States in 1984 constituted an abandonment of his domicile and residence in the Philippines thus his disqualification to run for the mayoralty. Rosario explained that Manuel’s Caasi’s argument was off tangent as the latter ran for the mayoralty while his case at the provincial board involved his appointment of Escat.
“This is pure harassment! Hindi nila matangap na tinalo ko sila,” he insinuated against his political rivals in and outside of this town whom he suspected to undermine his post.