When it rains, it pours

Remember the case of that mayor of a municipality in Negros Oriental accused of arbitrary actions that a silica quarry operator in his town claimed prejudiced his business operations that we wrote about a few columns back?

More cases had been lodged against the same mayor before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas and the Office of the President, proving the truism of the adage, “When it rains, it pours.”

The legal ordeal that Ayungon town Mayor Edsel Enardecido is in right now began with his arbitrary act of closing the gates of the town’s wharf sometime in the third quarter of 2016.

The closure prevented a silica quarry concessionaire from having his quarried raw materials brought to the wharf and loaded into waiting vessels for shipment to end users, cement and glass manufacturers.

Even if the wharf’s gates were opened not long after they were ordered closed by Enardecido, the complainant, officers of the adversely affected silica quarry concessionaire and its logistics arm, Pilipinas Eco-Friendly Mining Corp., Inc. and Logistics and Technological Solutions, Inc., respectively, seeks a definitive ruling from the Office of the Ombudsman, apparently to prevent a similar arbitrary act from being resorted to again in the future.

We learned the case is still in the preliminary investigation stage before the Ombudsman-Visayas.

While waiting for the resolution of the original case, complainant Mark Yu requested the mayor’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017. What could be produced was the mayor’s SALN for 2015 only. Up to this writing, the 2016 and 2017 SALNs still have to be produced.

What’s detrimental about this development to Mayor Enardecido is the finding that the 2015 SALN he filed allegedly did not declare all his assets, specifically the current number of dump trucks in his inventory. The mayor’s family owns a fleet of dump trucks for its hauling business.

He also failed to declare a motor bike and his declaration of having purchased three luxury vehicles — a Toyota Fortuner, a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Ford Ranger — were likewise questioned before the Office of the Ombudsman in a new filing against Enardecido.
Truly, when it rains, it pours.

Complaints against the mayor had also been filed before the Office of the President by a resident of Ayungon and the complaining silica quarrying company for grave misconduct and abuse of authority, burying the mayor even more with criminal and administrative charges. And all of this started because of a mere arbitrary act of closing the gates of the town’s wharf to the prejudice of the complainant.

If two chief justices of the Supreme Court were removed from office because of their failure to file their SALN, many are asking if Mayor Enardecido still has legal remedies available to him to avoid the fate that befell the two chief magistrates.

Perhaps the legal ordeal that the good mayor is currently experiencing that may even result in his criminal conviction and administrative removal from office is a good example why local chief executives should never be arbitrary in the exercise of their powers and to never abuse their authority.

Current Cebu developments

Cebu’s political cauldron has been simmering for quite a time now. It is, in fact, reaching its boiling point. But what is interesting is the uniqueness of the local politics in the city of Cebu specifically where the families of two taipans are being dragged into the political skirmish.

Both are into identical business undertakings such as retail, real estate development and transportation. The first is already well established in the city, but its recent expansion did not sit well with the incumbent city mayor, who is wooing the other taipan to develop for his conglomerate an unutilized island just a few nautical miles from the mainland.

The mayor’s invite to the second taipan is strongly opposed by opposition city councilors led by the Vice Mayor. The faction opposed to the mayor enjoys the backing of the Malacañang official assigned to the Visayas, making the political situation more worth watching.

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