MANILA – After reprimanding erring barangay officials, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday said that it has issued show-cause orders (SCO) anew, this time against three provincial governors and two mayors for violating the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) guidelines issued by the national government.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said violation of quarantine directives issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the DILG will not go unnoticed, emphasizing that “the point of all of these national policies is to ensure unity, cohesion, and order in the entire country during the (coronavirus disease 2019) crisis which requires the LGU’s full cooperation and compliance.”
“As directed by the President himself, we will not go easy on local government officials who will violate the prescribed directives during the ECQ, that’s the mandate of the DILG — local government supervision. Therefore, we have no choice but to issue show cause orders and file the necessary charges against them, when necessary, kagaya ng ginawa natin sa ilang barangay official na lumabag din sa (just like what we did with barangay officials who violated) quarantine policies,” Año explained.
These local chief executives were given 48 hours from receipt to submit a written explanation stating clearly why no administrative cases should be filed against them for negligence, dereliction of duty, and violation of the Bayanihan To Heal as One Act.
Failure to do so will result in an automatic administrative case to be filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.
The said officials may also face criminal charges from the National Bureau of Investigation of the Department of Justice.
“Kagaya ng ating ginagawa sa mga pagkakataong tulad nito (Just like what we are doing in cases like this), we are giving them due process to explain and defend themselves because they enjoy the presumption of regularity in the exercise of official functions unless overturned by sufficient evidence,” he said.
He also said that more show cause orders will be issued against local chief executives in the next few days after the DILG has exhausted all avenues of dialogue with the LGUs.
“We consider LGUs as our partners from the very beginning but once we have exhausted all avenues for dialogue, we have no choice but to start filing cases. Hahabulin namin sila (We will go after them),” he said.
Four barangay officials from Quezon City and Caloocan City were recently issued SCOs for violation of physical distancing measures and the prohibition against mass gathering guidelines under the ECQ.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said the cooperation of LGUs is vital in the fight against Covid-19.
He said that the DILG cannot yet reveal the names of those issued show-cause orders because they are still awaiting the written explanation of the three governors and two mayors.
“As part of procedural due process, we are asking them to explain. And if warranted, the DILG will file the necessary cases against them. Once we have done so, we can now release their names to the public because cases are now pending against them,” he added.
He said the violations of these local chief executives include violation of the prohibition against mass gatherings, failure to strictly implement social distancing measures, prohibiting the movement of all types of cargo through the borders of his LGU, refusing entry to OFWs that were issued health certifications by the Department of Health, prohibiting the operations of industries vital to the food security of our country, and prohibiting the entry of essential personnel like health workers into his LGU, among others.
The DILG continues to encourage the public to report negligent local government officials to the DILG hotline 8888, 911 and the DILG-Public Assistance and Complaint Center at 02-8925-0343. (PR)