MANILA (UPDATE) - The Office of the Ombudsman has suspended Malay town Mayor Ciceron Cawaling, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Thursday.
The preventive suspension is effective Thursday, a day before Boracay island's scheduled reopening to tourists, DILG officer-in-charge Eduardo Año said.
An implementing suspension order will be served by the department, he added.
It can be recalled that the DILG in June this year filed criminal and administrative charges against Cawaling and 16 other officials in Aklan province for alleged neglect of duty that resulted in environmental problems on Boracay island.
The charges were filed two months after the top tourist spot was closed to tourists so establishments may improve sewerage systems and for illegal structures encroaching into restricted areas to be torn down.
Boracay is under the jurisdiction of Malay town in Aklan.
Vice Mayor Abram Sualog will serve as acting mayor for the meantime, Año said.
Asked for comment, Sualog said he would get down to work.
"Ang iniisip ko trabaho agad, kung paano mapabilis natin 'yung rehabilitation ng isla para maayos na po lahat ng problema dito," he told ABS-CBN News.
(What I'm thinking about is the job, how to speed up the rehabilitation of the island so that we could fix all problems here.)
Sualog was also among officials the DILG charged over Boracay's woes. But he said violations cited in the criminal and administrative charges happened before he assumed office.
"Siguro dahil 'yung nangyari sa Boracay nakita nila lahat ung maraming violation, at kagaya ng sinabi ko kanina, 2016 ako nagsimulang maging vice mayor, 'yun naman sigurong ibang violation prior pa yan sa pag-assume ko," he said.
(Perhaps what happened in Boracay, they saw that there were many violations and, like I said earlier, I became vice mayor in 2016, maybe the other violations happened prior to the time I assumed office.)
He said he has not received any communication regarding the case. - report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News