Ombudsman withdraws suspension of local execs over waste disposal cases

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2018 02:44 PM

MANILA - Ombudsman Samuel Martires withdrew the suspension order issued by his predecessor against 9 mayors and other local executives facing grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty cases in relation to the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

In separate orders signed by Martires on September 10, 2018, the one year suspension without pay of the following were withdrawn: 
- Bambang Nueva Vizcaya Mayor Flaviano Balgos Jr.; 
- Daraga, Albay Mayor Gerry Jaucian; 
- Bato, Leyte Mayor Nathaniel Gertos; 
- Rizal, Palawan Mayor Norman Ong; 
- Tabaco City, Albay Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luistro; 
- Polangui, Albay Cherlie Sampal; 
- Silang, Cavite Mayor Emilia Lourdes Poblete; 
- Trece Martires City, Cavite Mayor Melandres De Sagun; and
- Abucay, Bataan Ma. Kristine Dela Fuente.

The order of Martires also covers the suspension order against 62 co-respondents of the mayors such as municipal and city councilors, municipal and city environment officers and vice mayors.

“Considering that the Office of the Ombudsman has not received information from the Department of the Interior and Local Government as to the implementation of the decision, the DILG secretary or his duly authorized representative is directed to furnish this office of this information within ten days from receipt hereof so that this matter can be included in the review of this case,” Martires said.

Martires said that he understands that small towns and cities cannot afford P13 million needed for the closure of open dumpsites as well as P50 million for the operation of sanitary landfills.

“If this happens baka wala nang matirang mayor sa 5th and 6th class municipalities,” Martires said.

In 2016, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales personally received ceremonial complaints filed by the National Solid Waste Management Commission.

Martires however said that upon studying the Solid Waste Management Act, certain provisions need amendments such as the national government assuming huge responsibilities on waste disposal instead of local government units.

He said there is a need for the legislature to revisit the law.

“I don't want to rely on my own studies but i saw that the law is economically not feasible to be implemented especially by 5th and 6th class municipalities,” Martires said.