By Miko Morelos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 06:30:00 04/20/2010
Filed Under: Eleksyon 2010, Inquirer Politics, Elections, Local authorities
MANILA, Philippines — A Muntinlupa reelectionist councilor dismissed a complaint against him before the Office of the Ombudsman as a clear case of “political harassment,” which he claimed to have stemmed from his criticism of the City Hall management.
“It is not true that I never attended our sessions. It’s simply a case of political harassment, with the complainant being anonymous,” said Councilor Allen Ampaya in a phone interview. “Is the complainant afraid of being sued for libel?”
Ampaya, who’s running under the banner of former Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, is being investigated for purportedly failing to perform his duties as a member of the city council, which the Ombudsman said “may constitute dereliction of duty, malfeasance or misfeasance.”
Lawyer Christopher Soguilon, resident Ombudsman for the Department of the Interior and Local Government, wrote to Muntinlupa Mayor Aldrin San Pedro requesting assistance in investigating the claim of an alleged taxpayer in the city.
The councilor explained that if he had been neglecting his duties as a member of the city council, his colleagues could have sanctioned him a long time ago.
“We have internal rules in the city council on absenteeism,” he said, adding that he could have been warned or penalized for being absent at least three consecutive years. “I could have been removed from office if the claim is true.”
Ampaya thought the complaint was in retaliation for the open letter he spread throughout the city about the local government’s huge debt.
“They could have been hurt bad by the letter, but I tell you, it’s the truth. I have documents to support my claim,” he said.
Fresnedi is seeking to retake his old post as mayor against San Pedro.