Libmanan controversy continues to affect residents, employees, officials

LIBMANAN, Camarines Sur (Bicol Standard) – The residents, employees, and officials of Libmanan are suffering the brunt of the controversy that ensued when a suspension order was issued to Mayor Bernard Brioso based on the administrative complaint filed against him with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur last year.

Councilor Jesus Camara, in an interview, told the Bicol Standard that since November 8, which was the effectivity of the suspension order against Brioso, there had been no transactions in the local government unit.

This includes the non-release of salaries and wages, the Christmas bonus, and other benefits, he said.

Even the payments charged against Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) including electric bills and salaries and wages of employees like street cleaners, among others, remain unsettled.

Camara said that the depository banks of the Local Government Unit, Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines, would not allow the encashment of checks issued by the LGU.

This is until after a clarification is made by Nonilon Lopez, the Municipal Government Operations Officer of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), as to who is the authorized signatory to the said checks.

Municipal officials have already raised a query to said DILG officer as to the signatory. However, Lopez has not yet acted upon the request, according to Camara.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Office of the DILG, when asked for an opinion, stated that they have no jurisdiction over the issue.

It will be recalled that Brioso was preventively suspended from November 8, 2018 to January 8, 2019 for issuing a Mayor’s Pemit to Tinandayagan Falls and Resort, which is owned by his sister Socorro, who allegedly failed to comply with the documentary requirements.

During such time, Vice Mayor Rommel Bulaong assumed office as Acting Mayor.

Brioso refused to comply with the suspension order, and still continued to perform the functions of the Office of the Mayor, Camara said.

He even issued a memorandum to all department heads, saying that he has a pending appeal with the Office of the President, hence he will not relinquish his position.

On January 8, 2019, Brioso was served another order of suspension, which is punitive in nature, for six months, with which he again refused to comply.

Brioso maintained that he has a pending appeal with the Office of the President regarding the same.

Meantime, the depository banks still refuse to allow the LGU to engage in transactions like the issuance of checks since they require a clarification from Municipal Government Operations Officer Lopez as to the authorized signatory.

As this developed, Presidential Assistant for Bicol Affairs Usec. Marvel Clavecilla called for a dialogue this afternoon in Naga City to iron out the issue.