Echiverri hangs on to post

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2011 11:33 AM | Updated as of Jul 20 2011 12:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Saying he was not given due process, Caloocan Mayor Enrico Echiverri said he will not be leaving his post anytime despite a suspension from the Office of the Ombudsman.

In a conference at the city hall grounds on Tuesday, the embattled mayor said he will question the allegedly baseless 6-month suspension issued on Sunday.

The preventive suspension stemmed from the complaint filed by Caloocan Vice Mayor Edgar Erice who alleged that Echiverri failed to remit around P343 million in employees’ contributions to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

“Why did GSIS not lift a finger to file a case against me? By what authority does he have to file a case? He is not even a party of interest,” Echiverri said.

He said Erice is “desperate to gain power that he will subvert the will of the people…together with a willing Ombudsman.”

He said the issue on remittances has already been discussed no less with GSIS officials.

Echiverri said he went to see GSIS Chairman Daniel Lacson last year to reconcile the city hall’s books with that of the agency.

He said the local government has not been wanting in its remittances. However, there are some figures that are questionable and needs to be reconciled with that of the GSIS, he explained.

Based on subsequent discussions, GSIS later agreed to an arrangement whereby the city will remit principal payments over 3 years’ time.

He also twitted the Office of the Ombudsman for suspending him “without a fight.”

He raised the hasty implementation of the decision. The motion to suspend was released on Friday, and the order on Sunday. A press release was issued the following day, he said.