MANILA - The Department of Interior and Local Government might issue Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano a show cause order if reports about his absence during the flooding in his area of responsibility is proven, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Saturday.
Soriano was reportedly in Batangas with his family for his birthday when Tuguegarao City and the rest of Cagayan province were inundated starting late last week in the aftermath Typhoon Ulysses (International name: Vamco).
"We also received the same report. We are validating this report and if true, we are appalled by his behavior," Malaya said in a text message to ABS-CBN News.
"The mayor is the father of his city and he cannot just leave his constituents in the middle of a disaster just to celebrate his birthday. We will issue a show cause order to the mayor for him to explain why he was not in his AOR during the typhoon."
In an interview on government station PTV also on Saturday, Soriano said he had the consent of Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba when he left on Nov. 8.
"Nagpaalam ako kay Governor kasi di naman tinatamaan ito ng bagyo. There was no typhoon signal, so I asked the permission of the provincial government. Umalis ako last Sunday afternoon," he said.
Ulysses hit land in Quezon province on the night of Nov. 11, and crossed Luzon westward on the following day.
Soriano said when water level in his home province started rising, he tried to travel back on Nov. 12. However, he said NLEX was closed earlier in the day and only opened in the afternoon.
Because he cannot travel at night, he decided to leave Manila at 3 a.m. of Nov. 13, and arrived in Tuguegarao later that day.
Some netizens were able to take a screenshot of Soriano's daughter's post on Instagram about their celebration in Batangas.
In a reply to a comment, Bea Soriano-Dee said her father cut his short trip to take a 16-hour travel back to Tuguegarao when the roads were already passable. The said post has been deleted.
The heavy flooding in Tuguegarao City and many parts of Cagayan left many residents on their houses' rooftops.
The city has already been placed under a state of calamity.
Crossing on Saturday the boundary of Isabela into Tuguegarao City, said to be the hardest hit locality in the flooded Cagayan Province. Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News