By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
ILOILO City Tourism Assistant Department head Eireen Rita Manikan could not help but break down from the “painful” allegations thrown not only at her but also her husband, Local Civil Registrar Office head Romeo Caesar Manikan Jr. in the past weeks.
Mrs. Manikan was one of the three city government employees accused of alleged electioneering for campaigning for former mayor Jose Espinosa III in the May 13, 2019.
Her husband was also under fire over fake or defective marriages that were uncovered at the LCRO.
In an interview with Bombo Radyo Iloilo on Monday, Mrs. Manikan couldn’t help but think that they are being targeted for supposedly being allies of Espinosa.
“Nakibot ako last week my husband, Juncae Manikan, who became famous in the media due to a paper nga nagalibot about his office, tapos subong ako naman. Indi gid ko kauyon tani hambalon but the coincidences are very uncanny and very painful,” she said.
Mrs. Manikan broke her silence and denied the electioneering complaints that were filed against her and two other City Hall employees.
“In my more than 20 years of service sa city government, I am fully aware that as an employee, you have to remain apolitical. Bilang isa ka empleyado, wala gid ko nagintra sa nagligad eleksyon,” she stressed.
According to Mrs. Manikan, her mandate was only to receive and entertain complaints and complements for employees of the city government as an executive director of the Customer Care Center since the time of former mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
“Ang ubra ko gid ya is as executive director sa Customer Care Center nga ginhimo Pagulikid Center. Since the time ni mayor Jed, ang akon mandate is to entertain complaints and complements about the employees of the city government. Wala man na sa akon mandate ang mag-istorya about any politician,” she stressed.
In fact, Mrs. Manikan said that she could not remember the employees who filed the complaints against her for allegedly forcing them to support Espinosa.
“This is the first time subong nga gina-angot sa ila ngalan. As far as my recollection is concerned indi ko na sila madumduman,” she explained.
She added that she was surprised with the complaints since she is still on leave.
“Nakibot ko kay may kaso kay nag-leave na gani kami. Sa pag-leave pa lang naghibi ko and nakibot kay na-anad ko sa ubra every day but hambal kuno just for peace and katawhayan, amo na hambal sa amon ni City Adminstrator Melchor Tan,” Eireen lamented.
When asked about his message for the mayor, Mrs. Manikan said, “I’ve known Sir Jerry for quite some time, indi na siya malain nga tawo.”
Meanwhile, Mrs. Manikan said she will formally answer the allegations once she received the complaints of the four job hires.
Manikan, Danny Tan of the City Health Office (CHO), and Vincent de la Cruz of the Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) were accused by four job hires of violating the Election Code/Fair Election Act, Civil Service Law, and Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees).
The four job hires claimed that they were threatened by the said employees to support the candidacy of Espinosa, who ran for mayor in the May 13, 2019 midterm elections but lost to Treñas, otherwise they will be terminated from their work.