Palace vows due process for mayors probed for 'Ompong' absence

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2018 05:29 PM

A man surveys damage wrought by Typhoon Ompong in Tuguegarao City. Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday vowed due process for mayors under investigation for allegedly neglecting their duties when their respective areas were being hit by Typhoon “Ompong.”

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) earlier said 16 mayors, mostly from the Cagayan and Cordillera regions, would be investigated for supposed neglect.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the mayors would be given the chance to explain their side.

“They are being accorded their right to due process and decision to be made shortly thereafter,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

Roque earlier said the local chief executives must be fired.

“Sang-ayon po tayo na dapat patawan ng pinakamabigat na parusa iyong mga mayor na missing in action sa panahon na pinaka-kinakailangan sila ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.

(I agree that the mayors who were missing in action during the time they were most needed should be meted the heaviest penalty.) 

Bernardo Florece Jr., Interior Undersecretary for Peace and Order, said the DILG was specific when they told mayors to stay in their areas during Ompong. He stressed that mayors should be in their area and should be on top of the situation during calamities.

On Thursday, DILG Undersecretary for Barangay Affairs Martin Diño said even village chiefs absent during the typhoon onslaught would be investigated.

Ompong, the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year so far, has left at least 88 people dead, mostly from the mountainous Cordillera region where heavy rains triggered landslides.

In a village in Itogon town alone, at least 22 bodies have been retrieved from a landslide in a mining site. Authorities expect the death toll to rise as dozens more remain missing.