Lamitan mayor back to work after 90-day suspension

By David Santos, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga

Posted at Jan 26 2011 12:31 AM | Updated as of Jan 26 2011 08:31 AM

LAMITAN, Philippines - Employees of the Lamitan town hall welcomed Mayor Roderick Furigay when he reported back to work on Tuesday morning.

In November last year, the Sandiganbayan placed Furigay under a 90-day preventive suspension order for a pending graft case.

Furigay is facing a complaint for alleged violation of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, after he hired a former government official to review Lamitan's aging Revenue Tax Code.

Despite completing the suspension order, Furigay was still visibly disappointed with the outcome of the case, insisting he "did not deserve the punishment" imposed on him.

Furigay, however, was grateful that the suspension gave him the opportunity to spend more time with his kids.

He said that he was satisfied with the performance of Lamitan Vice-Mayor Arleigh Eisma, who was designated as office-in-charge during his absence.

Both Furigay and Eisma admitted that the recent months were indeed challenging for Lamitan amid a series of kidnapping and murder cases in the town.

Furigay said that peace and order will be on top of his priorities now that he has returned at the helm.

Another challenge that Lamitan government has to hurdle is the Supreme Court's decision that declared its cityhood as unconstitutional.

Lamitan is part of the so-called League of 16, which was formed by municipalities whose cityhood conversion bids were unsanctioned by the high court.