MALOLOS CITY--The committee on justice and good governance of the Sangguniang Panglalawigan recommended on Tuesday a six month suspension against Donya Remedios Trinidad town Mayor Ronaldo T. Flores after he was found guilty in the cases of “conflict of interest” and “abuse of authorithy” filed against him a village chief in the said town.
Six board members voted in favor of suspending the mayor, three dissented, and four were absent.
The decision came after almost two months of hearing and deliberations on the merits of the cases filed by Roberto Sembrano, village chief of Bgy. Camachin.
However, it will only be implemented after Gov. Wilhelmino Alvarado signs the recommendation of the SP.
Sembrano filed the cases of “conflict of interest” and “abuse of authority” against Flores on Nov. 4, 2011. The complainant accused the mayor–“by abuse of power and or authority”—is engaged in illegal mining activities by extracting, stockpiling and transporting of iron ores from Bgy. Camachin, and utilizing for his own gain some employee of the municipal government in order to conduct his illegal operations in the said village.
Sembrano further stated that Flores, being the incumbent mayor of DRT, is the issuing authority of Mayor’s and business permit of Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp.(Ore-Asia), which has mining business in Bgy. Camachin.
He added that through influence and abuse of authority, the respondent was able to contract, through its corporation Sky Trac Truckinbg and Marron Mineral Carriers, Inc, the hauling services in transporting iron ores from Ore Asia’s extraction site to stockpile area and from the stockpile area to the pier.
Sembrano said that this indicates the mayor’s conflict of interest and abuse of authority.
In his counter affidavit, Flores said that “the charges for unlawful mining activities and monopoly of hauling services are both unfounded and cannot be sustained.”
The committee on justice and good governance however found that Flores violated the law on the conflict of interest,
Dela Cruz said that the it was very clear that the accused is a public officer and that he has direct or indirect financial or pecuniary interest in any business, contract or transaction. The body also found that the mayor has indeed abused his power when he used his position as municipal mayor to favor his trucks as the hauler of iron ore of Ore Asia by issuing permits, use of municipal employees in his personal business ventures, apprehension of rival trucks and threatening Ore Asia that he will not issue permit if they will not hire his company to haul ore and use the Ore Transport Permit of Ore Asia.
Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office chief Rustico “Teddy” de Belen said that the decision is a clear realization that Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy alvarado is really true in his implementing his 7 point agenda—specifically good governance—to punish irresponsible and abusive public officials.
He also said that this also proves that Gov. Alvarodo is very firm i his resolve to protect the environment and natural resources of the province. (Ramon Lazaro)