“OMBUDS TOLD SUSPEND CAPT”

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By Tonton Alcos Antogop

 

For allegedly slamming her fist in anger, a Barangay Captain of a Cebu City North mountain barangay is in trouble. Binaliw Barangay Captain Viviane Ruste got the ire of their barangay councilors prompting them to complain to the Ombudsman and ask for her “preventive suspension.” They wanted Ruste suspended as the slamming act stemmed allegedly from disbursement vouchers (DV) which Ruste wanted approved even if the same were questionable.

The barangay councilors wrote to Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Paul Clemente narrating on what transpired during their regular session last January 14, 2019 where Ruste allegedly did the act. “Punong Barangay Ruste then slammed her fist on the table and shouted at the Kagawads, “I tell you, I will file a case against you! Ang inyong binuhatan sa una akong ugkaton, mag-inugkatay ta,” the six councilors Daisy Ybanez, Edmund Biano, Ronald Mingo, Sante Cabrera, Renato Seno, Sr. and Kissy Amour Bacor told Clemente in their consolidated affidavit complaint last Feb. 11.

Once proven, they want Ruste to be criminally charge for unjust vexation and oppression and administrably liable for “conduct unbecoming of a public official.” Assisted by lawyer Christine Joymarie Perias, the six alleged that Ruste berated them and continously pounded the table because one of them, Ybanez, reasoned that their Chairman on the Committee on Appropriations, Biano, would not sign the vouchers for the procurement of spare parts for the repair of their backhoe (DV No. 18-110-117); equipment supplies for emergency disaster preparedness (DV No. 18-10-118) and procurement of office supplies for their daycare center (DV No. 18-10-120) because all three allegedly lacked supporting papers and documents.

They claimed that Ruste wanted Biano to sign the vouchers even if there were no resolution from their Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) for the purchases; no purchase request; no purchase order; no canvass papers; no notice of award and inspection report and that the checks for the payment of the said vouchers were already issued even without its approval yet. For that alleged irregularities, they wanted Ruste investigated and preventively suspended while the investigation is on-going.

As to the investigation they wanted the Office of Ombudsman Clemente to do it itself and not the Cebu City council claiming that they could not expect “impartiality” from the council because its majority are political allies of the Barangay Captain. “We respectfully pray that the proceedings in the administrative case be conducted by the Honorable Office of the Ombudsman Visayas itself and not to refer to the Sangguniang Panlunsod of Cebu City the majority of the member of which are allied in the same political party with the respondent Punong Barangay (sic) and cannot be expected to act with impartiality and objectivity with respect to said case,” the six barangay councilors added.

Ruste has been identified with the Bando Osmena Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) of Mayor Tomas Osmena where its members are the majority in the city council. The six councilors on the other hand are reported supporters of Barug PDP-Laban who has fielded Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella against Osmena.

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