By Chito Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has suspended Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua in compliance with the order of the Office of the Ombudsman.
DILG Regional Office 5 in Legazpi City served the Ombudsman suspension order at around 11 a.m. Friday at the Catanduanes Provincial Capital in Virac town, according to DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
Año has designated Vice-Governor Sherley Abundo as acting provincial governor immediately during Cua’s suspension.
The DILG chief said Abundo “shall perform all the duties and functions inherent to the Office of the Governor’’.
Earlier, the Office of the Ombudsman meted Cua with a suspension of six months, without pay, pending an investigation on the charges against him for alleged abuse of authority, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service, dishonesty, and grave misconduct.
“Our campaign against corruption is unrelenting and we are working closely with the Office of the Ombudsman in its anti-corruption efforts,” Año said.
“Our action suspending the Governor of Catanduanes is in compliance with the decision of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, imposing a preventive suspension during the pendency of OMB-LA-18-0-319 case entitled “Rey Mendez vs. Gov. Joseph Cua and Mayor Eulogio Rodriguez,” he added.
The governor’s suspension stemmed from the administrative complaint filed by a certain Rey Mendez of Virac town before the Office of the Ombudsman against him and Mayor Eulogio Rodriguez of Bato, Catanduanes.
In its order, the Ombudsman said that the “testimony of the complainant and the documents presented, which are indicative of strong evidence of guilt, at this stage, compel this office to grant the preventive suspension prayed for.”
“In addition, Cua’s continued stay in office pending the final disposition of this complaint may prejudice the case filed against him, more particularly witnesses and other documentary evidence that are still under their control,” the Ombudsman order stated.
The Ombudsman, however, denied the prayer for preventive suspension against Rodriguez.
Año noted the DILG Regional Office 5 in Legazpi City served the Ombudsman suspension order at around 11 a.m. Friday at the Catanduanes Provincial Capital in Virac town.