By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
La Castellana Councilor Donato Dumaguit could face expulsion from the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) if he continues to be absent from the regular sessions.
Teodora Sumagaysay, provincial director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Negros Occidental, said Dumaguit’s absences could be used as a basis by the La Castellana town council to impose disciplinary action against him.
She added that four consecutive absences from SB sessions without approved leave are grounds for a council member to be suspended or dismissed from the office, citing Section 60 of the Local Government Code on disciplinary actions.
The DILG provincial office said Dumaguit failed to attend six regular sessions, as well as one special session.
Sumagaysay said the council could also file administrative charges against Dumaguit through the Negros Occidental Sangguniang Panlalawigan or the Office of the Ombudsman.
However, Sumagaysay said it is currently impossible to place Dumaguit under preventive suspension or file an administrative case against him due to the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on October 30.
Dumaguit has been absent from the regular sessions of the La Castellana SB since he was involved in the controversial police recruitment scam in the town.
Meanwhile, the Negros Occidental Provincial Legal Office (PLO) also seeks a legal opinion over Dumaguit’s absences.
PLO head, Atty. Alberto Nellas Jr., said they are now reviewing the resolution from the La Castellana SB in relation to the town councilman’s absence.
Nellas said they will give their legal opinion to La Castellana Mayor Rhumylla Mangilimutan on what administrative liabilities Dumaguit may face.
He added that their review is separate from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, as it aims to find out what regulations or laws Dumaguit may have violated.
He further added that the disciplining authority against the councilor falls under the Office of the President.
At least 11 large-scale estafa charges were filed against Dumaguit and Mary Jun delos Santos in relation to the alleged Philippine National Police recruitment scam.
Dumaguit, who had gone into hiding, claimed he was also victimized by Delos Santos, the primary suspect in the recruitment scam.
The councilor said he did not receive any money from the applicants because he directed the payments to Delos Santos, who is also unreachable.
After losing contact with Delos Santos, Dumaguit said he no longer knew what the victims were asking, as he discouraged the applicants from contacting him.
Dumaguit said he was not able to file a complaint against Delos Santos./DGB, WDJ