WHO’S GANGING UP ON MALAY MAYOR?
LON VISAYAS BUREAU 0CT 29, 2018
BORACAY, Aklan – New Boracay, new mayor in the next six months.
At the program for the re-opening of the world-renowned Boracay Island, an important political figure was conspicuously absent.
Mayor Ciceron Cawaling of Malay, Aklan, was a no-show at the Boracay Opening program.
Instead, organizers acknowledged Vice Mayor Abram Sualog as the acting mayor of the town after the Office of the Ombudsman preventively suspended Cawalinbg on Oct. 23.
Department of Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año signed and implemented the preventive suspension.
Año then formally inducted Sualog into office immediately after the program.
The camp of Cawaling claimed they were surprised by the order since they have not received an official copy of the complaint and the preventive suspension order.
Rowen Aguirre, executive assistant for Boracay Affairs of Malay, has also raised the question why was Cawaling the only one suspended when 17 of them who were charged for criminal and administrative offenses.
“Even Gov. Miraflores and acting Mayor Sualog were also charged, but why single him out. If they say that it was done for Mayor Cawaling not to influence the issuance of permits, they still had people who were charged but not suspended,” he quipped.
Cawaling has been staying in Boracay and received the news calmly, Aguirre said.
Prior to the suspension, Aguirre said they received information that there are individuals who lobbied for Cawaling’s suspension.
“It was allegedly asked that the suspended order be handed down before the closure, if only to show that someone was held answerable for what happened,” he added.
But Año claimed that it is the Office of the Ombudsman who could answer such issue.
“We were just implementing the order. After all, the Ombudsman could issue the order at any given time and day. Nagkataon lang na on Oct. 23 and we had to implement it,” Año added.
The DILG chief said they were not picking on Cawaling.
“Yun kasi ang lumabas sa initial review ng ating Ombudsman. Nakita yung prima facie case against him but tuloy tuloy ang review ng mga cases,” he added.
Cawaling’s suspension apparently stemmed from a complaint lodged by the DILG at the Ombudsman on June 27, 2018.
Cawaling and 16 officials of Aklan province were charged for neglect of duty that led to Boracay Island’s environmental crisis.
Among those charged were Governor Florencio Miraflores of Aklan, Sualog, and Jen Salsona, Malay licensing officer III.
They were charged for gross neglect of duty, conduct unbecoming of a public officer, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and grave misconduct.
Cawaling and several others were accused for issuing permits to 20 establishments in Boracay from 2016 to 2018 without the requisite Fire Safety Inspection Certificate (FSIC) from the Bureau of Fire Protection.