Gov Cua slapped with six-month preventive suspension

VIRAC, Catanduanes (Bicol Standard) – Vice Governor Shirley Abundo confirmed to the Bicol Standard that she will assume as Acting Governor of Catanduanes effective today (Jan. 11) following the six-month preventive suspension of Gov. Joseph Cua by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Abundo revealed that she was shocked by this development.

“Nagulat ako noong pinapirma ako ng DILG kanina,” she said.

It was Provincial Director Uldarico Razal who handed her a copy of the order to assume office earlier today, she said.

Razal was accompanied by several officials of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) who were sent to Catanduanes to serve the suspension order, together with the order to assume office.

"Pursuant to Sec. 46 of RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, and in compliance to DILG Region V unnumbered memorandum dated January 11, 2019, Vice Gov. Shirley Abundo formally and officially assumed the Office of the Governor after Gov. Joseph C. Cua was meted with preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman for six months after a case filed against the governor for abuse of authority, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service, dishonesty, and grave misconduct by a private person," reads the letter signed by Atty. Anthony C. Nuyda, Regional Director of DILG Bicol.

The suspension stemmed from an administrative complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman by Rey Mendez, a resident of Virac town.

Cua allowed Bato Mayor Eulogio Rodriguez to use a parcel of land owned by the provincial government without the authority of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

In the complaint, it was said that ER Construction, owned by Rodriguez, used the parcel of land as temporary barracks while undertaking the construction of drainage projects in this town.

Abundo is running for re-election under UNA, with Gov. Cua as the gubernatorial candidate.
Due to the assumption to office of Abundo as Acting Governor, topnotcher Board Member Rafael Zuniga will assume office as Acting Vice Governor.

Meanwhile, the legal team of Cua will reportedly file a motion for reconsideration and study other possible legal remedies.

Cua in his official statement said that he was saddened by the suspension, which came a few months before the elections.

Cua explained: "Adyan po an sakuyang dakulang respeto bilang sarong lider na gatubod sa hustisya nin satuyang gobyerno. Sa saday na pidaso nin parking area na pagsadiri nin gobyerno, dai man po dapat ipagkuripot bilang sarong lider sa satuyang mga konstituwentes. Kun an satuyang pagkamatinabang katukal an siring na rimalaso, daing rason na dai man ako magmundo asin makulgan maski ngani bako bilang lider kundi maski na sana bilang ordinaryong Catandunganon."

He also appealed to the constituents for their continued support and understanding.