DILG Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento said that Administrative Order No. 23 series of 1992 specifically states that a verified administrative complaint against governors, mayors, vice-mayors and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan or Panlungsod of highly urbanized cities, independent component cities and component cities as well as mayors and vice-mayors and members of sangguniang panlungsod or bayan of cities and municipalities in Metro Manila shall be acted upon by the President through the Executive Secretary, as the “disciplining authority.”
Similarly, Sarmiento said that Section 61 of the Local Government Code also states that verified administrative complaints against “any elective official of a province, a highly urbanized city, an independent component city or component city shall be filed before the Office of the President (OP).”
The DILG Secretary issued the statement to explain the guidelines in handling complaints lodged against local chief executives, including those filed by women leaders against President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
Earlier, Duterte reportedly made a “rape-joke” comment, which prompted several women leaders to file a complaint before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) against the former for alleged violation of the Magna Carta for Women.
Sarmiento said that as soon as the DILG receives a copy of the CHR Resolution citing the complaints filed by women leaders against Duterte, the Department will request the CHR for a copy of the complaint and endorse the same and the CHR Resolution to the Office of the President pursuant to Section 61 of the Local Government Code.
He said that only when the OP gives the DILG the “Authority to Investigate,” as well as the entire records of the case for appropriate action, will the department conduct preliminary investigation of the case.
“Within 20 days from the receipt of the authority from OP, we should be able to determine whether there is probable cause to warrant the conduct of formal administrative proceedings,” he said.
If there is no probable cause, Sarmiento said the DILG will recommend to the OP the motu proprio dismissal of the case. On the other hand, if probable cause exists, the DILG shall set the case for preliminary conference and formal administrative proceedings in which both parties will be asked if they prefer a formal investigation or submission of the case for resolution based on the evidence on record.
If warranted, Sarmiento said the DILG may recommend to the OP the imposition of a preventive suspension on the respondent. He said that a formal investigation shall be conducted within the 90-day reglementary period with the consent of both parties wherein they will be given a chance to present their evidence.(DILG)