Brand of politics

EMERGING victorious from a first round of a hard-fought battle is quite an advantage and that’s what Caloocan Mayor Recom Echiverri apparently sees when he managed to secure a temporary relief from the Court of Appeals (CA) just as Sec. Jesse Robredo’s interior and local government department is about to carry out the six-month preventive suspension order slapped on him by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Since CA’s temporary restraining order’s lifespan is only 60 days, the mayor’s counsels should make the most of it to debunk in the proper venue Vice Mayor Egay Erice’s claim that the former’s administration has been remiss in remitting the city hall employees’ premiums to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

While I don’t want to entertain such nasty rumors that Erice’s camp had coughed up some P20-million for Acting Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro to “arbitrarily, capriciously, whimsically and despotically” issue a suspension order on July 17, 2011, a Sunday, and Recom’s camp paying up around P30-million for the three associate justices to release a TRO, knowing full well the brand of politics the city has over decades, what can we expect?

Well, at least, tension eased up at the City Hall as the mayor’s supporters who had vowed to block whoever comes in to serve the acting graft-buster’s order had returned to their homes.

It’s now back to normal in the city at least for now, one vital point the justices had vividly considered in issuing the TRO.

“Needless to state, the petitioners are incumbent public officials and their suspension from office, whether as a preventive measure or as a penalty, will undeservedly deprive the citizens of Caloocan City of the services they are entitled to,” the appellate court’s 14th Division has been quoted as saying.

In his claim, Erice said that from July 1997 to December 2002 and from January 2007 until 31 December 2010, the premium contributions comprising the personal shares of the employees and the city government shares were not remitted to the GSIS and remained unpaid as of 31 December 2010.

He even cited in his complaint the name of Robert Vergara, GSIS president and general manager, who’s said to have confirmed Caloocan’s non-remittance.

Nonetheless, the documents presented by the Mayor Echiverri showing the local government’s constant communication with the agency along with its regular monthly payment which was affirmed by the GSIS chair, Daniel Lacson, said otherwise.

Lacson says that a reconciliation of records is currently being carried out between the GSIS and the city government that’s why he’s surprised to learn that the
Ombudsman had issued a suspension order against the mayor regarding the issue.

Whatever, let both camps have their days in court and they should make true with what they had uttered before the public.

For the mayor, he must accept if the verdict turns unfavorable to him and the city government and for Vice Mayor Erice, he can start packing his things and resign both from his elective post and Liberal Party as what he dared to do if his allegations would all turn to be false.

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