Iturralde seeks CSC rule on SP gas scam PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 10 March 2016 13:40

By VIC LARATO

Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde has appealed for assistance of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) regional office 9 to solve the confusion over the reported gas scam in the Sanggunian Panlungsod, believing that the CSC is the right agency to rule on the case as it is mandated to oversee every aspect of human resource in the government service.

“The CSC has the competent authority to investigate, conduct trial and/or hearing of the case, and ultimately decide on the basis of the merit of the case,” Iturralde said in his letter dated Feb. 16, 2016 to the CSC-R09, which officially received the same on Feb. 22, 2016.

The vice mayor’s action came after the city legal officer, Atty. Jesus C. Carbon Jr., advised him that the Sangguniang Panlaungsod should investigate and hear/try the case.

However, Iturralde reasoned out that he could not find anyone from among the SP personnel, who can act as hearing body or hearing officer, one who can really conduct a fair and just trial of this case because all of them have a grudge to grind against the accused-cum respondent, Ma. Socorro Deborah A. Duremdez, Administrative Aide IV, when the latter alluded to them the anomaly, resulting from the reported excess or unauthorized withdrawals of diesel amounting to P1,370,391.68 from Shell Refilling Station in Canelar.

To recall, the city government of Zamboanga in 2012 filed an administrative case for misconduct against Deremdez, for which then City Mayor Celso Lobregat issued a Notice of Formal Charge on Jan. 4, 2012, and a Memorandum Order, placing the respondent under 60 days preventive suspension.

This developed after Patrick Lee, proprietor of Shell Refilling Station in Canelar, on Sept. 5, 2011 requested the vice mayor’s assistance regarding the overdue accounts, representing the alleged excess/unauthorized diesel withdrawals.

Since then, letters have sent to all parties concerned, including the respondent, asking her to explain in writing the circumstances surrounding the case filed against her.

Respondent Duremdez, however, repeatedly ignored the matter, and such undesirable attitude on her part prompted Iturralde to refer the matter to the City Human Resource Office, then under Erlina C. Sanchez.

The case was ultimately referred to the City Legal Office, which had assigned one investigating attorney after another, but no solution has so far been achieved until the new administration of Mayor Beng Climaco came in.

On Jan. 19, 2016, Atty. Novelyn E. Ong-Villadolid, of the City Legal Office, appearing as the new investigating attorney of the case, issued a memorandum, recommending the filing of a formal charge as prima facie evidence was found against the respondent.

Only then did the respondent replied through counsel on Jan. 25, 2016, but sought for the extension of time for her to answer the charge/s against her. On Feb 4, 2016, she sought clarification from the city mayor’s office, claiming that “there appears similar Formal Charge serve last Jan 4, 2014 and the case is still pending and unresolved up to this present time.”

Hence, Iturralde said this time he forwarded the case, all pertinent documents, to the CSC regional office 9 for final decision and resolve the cases, once and for all.— Vic Larato