DILG to Gov. Cua: Vacate post

VIRAC, Catanduanes—The Department of Interior and Local Government in Bicol still recognizes Shirley Abundo as Acting Governor of Catanduanes, Regional Director Atty. Anthony C. Nuyda clarified.

In a letter addressed to Abundo, Nuyda explained that this is while the regional office refers the issue to the Office of the Secretary.

“All such duties and responsibilities attached to the governor still rest upon you,” Nuyda wrote to Abundo.

It will be recalled that suspended Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua earlier this week issued a memorandum to all heads of offices and agencies of the province that he assumes office effective immediately with all the powers, duties, and functions inherent to the Office of the Governor.

This, he said, is pursuant to Section 66(b) of RA 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991).

Antecedent to this, the Ombudsman ordered him to serve a one-year suspension in connection with a complaint filed by Rey Mendez in September 2018 for alleged abuse of authority, conduct prejudicial to the interest of public service, dishonesty, and grave misconduct.

In a related development, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año ordered Cua to vacate his post as he has not fully served the one-year suspension.

Further, there is yet no order from the DILG for his reinstatement.

“The suspension of Gov. Cua is still in effect until April 2020,” Año said.

If Cua does not heed the order of the DILG to vacate his post, his defiance may be the basis for another administrative complaint for usurpation of authority, Año added.

It was further clarified by the DILG that Cua cannot use the provision of Sec. 66 of the Local Government Code because his suspension due to a graft case was based on the power and authority of the Ombudsman pursuant to RA 6770.

The Interior Secretary added that all employees of the Provincial Government and field offices of National Government agencies in Catanduanes are advised not to recognize Cua until the DILG sends them an official communication. (With report from Ramil Soliveres)