Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Mangaldan Mayor Locks Horn vs. Lawyers on Misconduct Case
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
MANGALDAN – The administrative cases filed against the former heads of the two departments of the local government unit (LGU) here have been reset after their counsels and the mayor argued how to start the hearing.
The duo have been charged with Serious Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, Falsification of Official Documents, and others after they allegedly transacted with Villasis Prime Lending Corporation (VPLC) for loans by using the names of the personnel of the LGU here without authority.
Lawyer Vicente Marteja, counsel of Bernabe, questions in the August 29 hearing why private counsel January Ragudo was assisting Parayno who should be the only one mandated by law to hear the administrative case. Mayor Parayno retorted that it was allowed by law since Ragudo is this town's legal consultant.
"He was only advising me and he was not the one but I who was the one trying the case," Parayno told Northern Watch after the hearing.
Marteja argued that (1) there was no preliminary investigation against Bernabe; (2) There was lack of documents being presented against her; (3) She did not represent the LGU when she transacted with VPLC; (4) No municipal funds have been involved on that transaction; and (5) LGU (Mangaldan) has no jurisdiction on the case.
Parayno denied the first , third, fourth, and fifth arguments, and admitted however the second argument of Marteja.
The administrative trial of Bernabe has been heard at the vacant Municipal Trial Court here last September 12.
A source, who was privy on administrative cases like with Bernabe and Aquino said that the objections of the legal counsels of the respondents are not a factor as the mayor was only after the 60 days preventive suspension against the duo so they can not influence the case on the proper charges against them in the Civil Service or the court.
“There will be a formal administrative and criminal charges to be filed or have been filed against them,” the source, who asked anonymity, said.
Meanwhile, the administrative case against Aquino with the same charges as that of Bernabe with VPLC has been reset on September 8 and 15 after the mayor here and her counsel could not agree on how to start the investigation.
On the August 29 hearing presided by Mayor Parayno, she asked the respondent’s lawyer Manuel if his client was ready to present her stipulation of facts and judicial affidavit.
Manuel said that the LGU here should first present its witnesses, stipulation of facts, and judicial affidavit before Aquino and her witnesses will file their controverting evidences.
The mayor here only said "noted" on the arguments of Manuel and reset the case.
It could be recalled that sometime in May 2010, Bernabe and Aquino have entered and participated in the execution of a Memorandum of Agreement for and in behalf of the LGU here without the necessary authority from the Sangguniang Bayan (town counsel) of Mangaldan."
Aquino however denied this allegation.
Moreover, they were also made to answer issues that sometime in January and March 2012, they allegedly caused the falsification of documents and fraudulent entries in the loan application form of VPLC in order to obtain substantial loan amount using their respective positions, the source said.
According to then Mayor Berex Abalos the duo were found guilty of issuing fictitious documents to VPLC such as false certifications of employment and false certifications of monthly salary of six legitimate employees as well as certifications of employment monthly salary of 16 non-employees also in order to avail of salary loan from the same lending company.
It could be recalled that sometimes in May 2010, the Bernabe and Aquino have "entered and participated in the execution of a Memorandum of Agreement for and in behalf of the LGU here without the necessary authority from the Sangguniang Bayan of Mangaldan."
Moreover, they were also made to answer issues that sometime in January and March 2012, they "caused the falsification of documents and fraudulent entries in the loan application form of VPLCI. in order to obtain substantial loan amount using their respective positions".