Ombudsman lifts suspension of Tabaco mayor

LEGAZPI CITY—"The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) here is ready to implement the order lifting the suspension order slapped against Tabaco City Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luistro," Elouisa Pastor, DILG Bicol Regional Director said.

Pastor added she is just waiting to receive the directive signed by DILG officer in charge Eduardo Ano.

In response, Mayor Luistro said she welcomes the lifting of the suspension order, which was implemented against her last month.

This means that once implemented, the lifted suspension will will allow the local officials to return and assume their posts and receive their withheld salaries.

Luistro said she would still wait for the Court of Appeals’ (CA) decision on her request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), questioning the Ombudsman order.

In its order dated Sept. 3, the Ombudsman lifted the suspension of Luistro as well as Polangui town Mayor Cherilie Mella Sampal, and Polangui Councilors Jesciel Richard Salceda, William Buendia, Sr., Edgar Arbo and Edna Siguenza, pending a review of the environmental case it slapped against the local chief executives.

It will be recalled that the Office of the Ombudsman slapped a one-year suspension order on Luistro last March for her alleged failure to close an open dump site despite an earlier warning, Pastor said.

The environmental team of the Environmental Ombudsman Program recommended the suspension after the team found her liable for gross neglect of duty.

The order also carried a directive for Luistro to immediately close and rehabilitate the dump site and desist from establishing an open dump site in Barangay San Antonio in Tabaco City.

In an earlier interview, the mayor described the suspension order as unmeritorious, stressing that she complied with the order to close the open dump site on March 17 last year.

She said the local government unit is in the process of bidding for a sanitary landfill.

The Ombudsman suspended Sampal and four town councilors for allegedly not complying with the proper waste disposal program under Republic Act No. 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

They were charged for gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Polangui town is operating an open dump site in Sitio Barobo, Barangay Sugtad.