MANILA - Suspended San Fernando City, La Union Mayor Hermenegildo “Dong” Gualberto on Tuesday announced he is stepping down from his position.
In an official statement posted on his Facebook page, Gualberto said he is stepping down after the Office of the Ombudsman imposed the penalty of dismissal against him.
"Bilang respeto sa desisyon ng Ombudsman, bababa ako sa pwesto pero hindi ito nangangahulugan na sumasang-ayon ako sa paspasang paglilitis o sumusuko sa laban dahil taliwas sa kanilang mga paratang, wala tayong ginawang mali o masama," he said.
He insisted he did not do anything wrong, and added that he will bring his case to a higher court.
"Walang basehan ang mga paratang. Walang nawala na yaman ng bayan. Dadalhin natin ang kaso na ito sa mas mataas na hukuman kung saan hinahangad nating magkakaroon ng patas at angkop na pagsisiyasat," Gualberto added.
The Office of the Ombudsman issued a preventive suspension order against Gualberto in May 2019 due to the alleged misuse of local government funds.The order stemmed from a complaint filed by Barangay Chairman Samuel Jucar, backed by 46 other barangay chairpersons in the city.
In the complaint-affidavit, Jucar cited the Audit Observation Memorandum (AOM) issued by the Commission on Audit (COA) last year which states that the budget for the rehabilitation of the City Plaza amounting to P66,473,503.90 was taken from the Development Fund (DF) for 2018.
Despite the suspension, Gualberto was reelected for a second term in the May 2019 elections, receiving a total of 32,192 votes. - with a report from Maira Wallis, ABS-CBN News