STO. DOMINGO, Nueva Ecija – Two female department heads of the municipal government were being investigated by an administrative body created by Mayor Greg Andres for alleged immorality.
Accused municipal budget officer Carolina Santos and municipal agriculturist Emelita Flores were placed under indefinite preventive suspension after the seven-man investigating panel conducting the administrative proceedings found prima facie evidence against the two.
Santos was accused of having an alleged illicit affair with a married man, former vice mayor and now incumbent town councilor Policarpio Catacutan Jr..
The case against Flores stemmed from an incident that occurred last February 27, wherein she was allegedly caught inside a comfort room of the town hall performing an indecent act with Alfie Flores, a municipal pest control worker.
Andres said the administrative proceedings against the two municipal officials began after immorality charges were filed against them.
The mayor said this was in accordance with Section 86 of Republic Act 7160, which authorizes the conduct of an administrative investigation by a person or committee duly authorized by the local chief executive.
Andres said the suspension was ordered by the probe panel after considering the nature and gravity of the offense committed and the sensitivity of the nature of work the two accused handle.
He said the suspension will stand while the cases are being investigated.
During the resumption of the administrative hearing by the panel at the audio-visual room of the municipal building last Thursday, the two accused, assisted by their newly-hired counsel attorney Jason Go, presented their respective replies to the immorality charges.
Go took over from attorney Maranatha Joy Osorio, who withdrew from the case after representing the accused during the two previous hearings.
In her counter-reply, Santos denied the allegation of immorality for being untrue, unfounded, malicious and mere hearsay.
She said both the notice to explain and the complaint-letter issued by the mayor have no factual basis and that common knowledge cannot be used as a basis for a complaint as it can only be considered as hearsay.
“That in order to be held liable in an administrative case there must be substantial evidence as required by the Rules of Court,” Santos said.
During the same hearing, Andres said he will press charges against attorney Osorio, who is presently employed at the Department of Agrarian Reform, for allegedly engaging in private practice when she represented the accused municipal officials on two previous occasions.