‘LEGAL MAYHEM’: Iloilo City Hall officials, workers sue each other

Dr. Bernard Caspe of the Iloilo City Health Office (CHO) is the latest to sue Mayor Jerry Treñas and City Administrator Melchor Tan before the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas in Cebu City. (Ricky Alejo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE filing of complaints between Iloilo City Hall officials and employees has been relentless since the start of the administration of Mayor Jerry Treñas.

The latest was the criminal and administrative complaints filed by Dr. Bernard Caspe of the City Health Office (CHO) against Treñas and City Administrator Melchor Tan before the Office of the Ombudsman Visayas in Cebu City.

Caspe sued Treñas and Tan for grave coercion, grave misconduct, oppression, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service with very urgent prayer to place the respondents under preventive suspension pending investigation.

Caspe was not the first employee to file charges against Treñas and Tan.


Last September 11, 2019, regular employee Joe Mari Esteral also filed criminal and administrative charges against Treñas and Tan alongside five other City Hall employees for allegedly harassing and oppressing him through re-assignment.

Esteral claimed that Tan, Treñas, City General Services Office Head Joren Sartorio, City Legal Officer Atty. Edgar Gil, Iloilo City Civil Registry Assistant Department Head Cherrie Ampig, and Executive Assistants Fernando Jose Rico and Rudiver Jungco Sr. connived and confederated in harassing and oppressing him not only through re-assignment but also in forcing him to testify and pin down his boss, Local Civil Registry Office (LCRO) head Romeo Caesar ‘Juncae’ Manikan.

Both Jungco and Rico denied the allegations while Ampig and Sartorio refused to comment.

Meanwhile, Treñas said he will answer the complaints once he is directed to do so.

The Manikans are also under fire by the Treñas administration.

Juncae is being tagged in the alleged defective marriages uncovered at the LCRO.

Recently, Treñas issued a show cause order against Juncae as regards the alleged defective marriages registered with his office.

“Relative to the alleged fake and questionable certificates of marriage registered in your office, you are hereby ordered to show cause in writing within a period of three calendar days from receipt thereof, why no administrative disciplinary sanction be imposed against you for grave misconduct,” the order said.

Interestingly, a certain Juan Dela Cruz also filed a letter complaint against Juncae Manikan.

In his letter complaint, Dela Cruz alleged that Juncae connived with dismissed judge Ofelia Artuz alongside other personalities to register the unauthorized and unsolemnized marriages endorsed to the LCRO.

“All marriages solemnized by dismissed Judge Ofelia Artuz that were made ‘late registration’ from August 29, 2017 up to the present were not actually solemnized. Her associates in this Modus Operandi are JP of Branch 5, Lorenz of Branch 7 and Arnel, a bystander at the Hall of Justice. In the City Hall, they pay Manikan of the LCR to have the marriages registered,” Dela Cruz said in his letter complaint addressed to Treñas.

Juncae’s wife, Eireen, was also one of the three city government employees accused of electioneering for actively campaigning for former mayor Jose Espinosa III.

Eireen Manikan, Danny Tan of the CHO, and Vincent de la Cruz of the Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO) were accused by four job hires who claimed that they were threatened by said employees to support the candidacy of Espinosa otherwise they will be terminated from their work.

Espinosa lost to Treñas in the May 13, 2019 midterm elections.

The Manikans have denied all the allegations against them.