The tale of two mayors in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija
Municipal employees of Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija have been unable to get their salaries and midyear bonuses since May.
Reason: there are two “mayors” serving at the municipal hall.
The confusion started when Mayor Lucio Uera was dismissed by the Ombudsman last March for grave misconduct and grave abuse of authority.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) then installed Vice Mayor Ruben Huerta as mayor to serve the unexpired term of Uera.
But on March 24, the Court of Appeals (CA) acted on Uera’s urgent motion and issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) to maintain the status quo for 60 days.
When the TRO expired on May 24, Uera stayed in office while Huerta started to discharge the duties of mayor.
About 200 municipal employees have not received their salaries, including mid-year bonuses, since May. Uera blamed the Philippine National Bank for recognizing the signature of an accountant appointed by Huerta.
Uera said asking the accountant to sign the payroll check would be an admission that Huerta is the mayor.
Municipal Treasurer Elvira Gonzales had then cancelled a P7.3 million check signed by Huerta and issued to the town cashier.
In a flag-raising ceremony, Huerta said he would continue acting as mayor until the DILG implements the ruling of the CA.
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