City Hall workers sued for ‘electioneering’

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THREE of the Iloilo City government regular employees, who were allegedly allies of former mayor Jose Espinosa III, are facing electioneering and ethics raps filed by four job hires on Aug 22, 2019.

City Legal Office (CLO) head Edgard Gil said the complaints were trained at Tourism Assistant Department Head Eireen Rita Manikan, Danny Tan of the City Health Office (CHO), and Vincent de la Cruz of the Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO).

He requested the press to withhold the names of the four complainants.

In a letter signed by their lawyer Eldrid Antiquiera and addressed to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, the four job hires accused Manikan, Tan, and de la Cruz of violation of the Election Code/Fair Election Act, Civil Service Law, and Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees).

“In line with the principle of due process, we are requesting your good office to conduct a formal investigation relative to the complaint and if, possible, to form an investigating panel. Our clients are willing to appear and to adduce testimonial and other evidence during the investigation,” read part of the letter.

The allegations of the job hires include that they were threatened 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.

In previous interviews, Treñas said he will be filing charges against department heads who indulged in “electioneering” in the recent elections.

Manikan refused to comment on the matter. Daily Guardian is still trying to get the comments of Tan and de la Cruz.

Gil said that he will assign a team of lawyers who will investigate the complaints starting next week. He added that the complainants will have to face Manikan, Tan, and de la Cruz.

“So ma-put up ko team of lawyers to investigate this. I-summon ni sila to explain kun ano ang natabo kay pag-appear na nila, ang mga nagexecute sang affidavit, ipa-confront sa ila,” he said.

If there is probable cause or sufficient evidence against the three, Gil said they will face either administrative or criminal cases.

Kun may probable case, pwede sila mafile-an sang administrative through the mayor or a criminal case through the City Fiscal Office,” he explained.

The employees also face dismissal from office or suspension depending on the gravity of their offenses, Gil noted.