Despite dismissal, Aklan mayor wins re-election

(Right) Ciceron Cawaling & (Left) Frankie Locsin

THE Office of the Ombudsman ordered him dismissed from office three weeks before the May 13, 2019 elections.

But it did not persuade voters of Malay town in Aklan to junk former mayor Ciceron Cawaling.

Garnering 16,277 votes, Cawaling of the Nacionalista Party trounced former mayor John Yap of the NPC who got 12,260 votes and independent candidate Rodgiet Ranara who had 1,200 votes in Malay’s mayoralty race.

Frolibar Bautista, Cawaling’s running mate, also edged incumbent Mayor Abram Sualog and Eliberto Daguno in the vice mayoralty race.

On April 24, Cawaling was served the dismissal order hours after reporting to work. He had just served his six-month preventive suspension when he was dismissed.

Aside from Cawaling, also ordered dismissed was Jen Salsona, Malay licensing officer III.

She was at her office when personnel from Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Aklan province served the order.

Cawaling and Salsona were found guilty of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, conduct unbecoming of a public official, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Cawaling’s camp has earlier denied the charges and vowed to appeal the decision before the Supreme Court.

Aside from Cawaling, another mayoralty candidate emerged victorious despite facing legal woes.

Former Mayor Frankie Locsin of Janiuay, Iloilo won the mayoralty race despite a court decision that meted the penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office and imprisonment of 6 years and one day to 10 years.

Locsin was charged before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).

The case is relative to the alleged anomalous purchase of medicines worth P15 million several years ago.

Reports said the Supreme Court has junked Locsin’s motion for reconsideration and affirmed the Sandiganbayan’s decision dated February 23 and June 8, 2015.

Lawyer John Nuñez, counsel of incumbent Vice Mayor Jojo Lutero, said that the Supreme Court has issued an Entry of Judgement on March 29, 2019 saying that the Sandiganbayan’s decision is final and executory.

But lawyer Jose Nick Mendros, Commission on Elections 6 (COMELEC-6) regional director, earlier said that the conviction has no effect on Locsin’s candidacy as someone should file a petition for disqualification before the Comelec national office.

Mendros said their legal duty would commence once the concern is brought to their office through the filing of the petition for disqualification.

Locsin won the mayoralty race with 11,383 votes while Lutero got 7,438 votes.

In the third spot is incumbent Sangguniang Bayan member Paulino Parian with 6,966 votes and incumbent Mayor Jojo de Paula with only 2,982 votes.

Locsin’s running mate, former Mayor Ben Margarico, led the vice mayoralty race with 12,851 votes over Glofil Joy Nobleza (7,937) and Raymundo Egan Barranco (6,342).