Beleaguered Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo remained holed up in his Provincial Capitol Office yesterday, after representatives from the Department of Interior and Local Government Negros Island Region Friday served a writ of execution from the Ombudsman to dismiss him for alleged malversation of public funds.
As of press time Degamo was conferring with his lawyers on their plans of action while receiving a throng of well-wishers, supporters, relatives, and friends who greeted him on Father’s Day.
In a phone interview last night with the governor’s wife, Janice Vallega-Degamo, mayor-elect of Pamplona town in Negros Oriental, she said that “the way the writ of execution was served was irregular.”
She said the normal procedure would have been for the respondent to receive an official copy of the joint resolution from the Ombudsman, after which the respondent would have been given five days to get a temporary restraining order.
Provincial Administrator Richard Enojo flew to Manila posthaste to be able to get a certified true copy of the resolution on the strength of a special power of attorney coming from Degamo.
“We expect to get the TRO by (today),” Vallega-Degamo said, who herself has kept the governor company at the Capitol. She said, much as the governor would have wanted to go home Friday, he was advised by his lawyers “not to leave the Capitol.”
In a radio interview Saturday, Dumaguete mayor-elect Felipe Antonio Remollo, one of Degamo’s lawyers, explained that “this may well be a blessing in disguise for the governor.” Remollo said that Vice Governor Mark Macias, who took his oath as governor Friday afternoon at the Hall of Justice, is serving the vacated term of Degamo until June 30.
“By July 1, Degamo is eligible to serve a new term as elected governor of Negros Oriental if we go by his supposed dismissal by the Ombudsman. In my interpretation, Degamo would then have a fresh term of office as he would already have served his suspension from office until June 30,” Remollo said.
Aside from Remollo and Enojo, Degamo’s lawyers are Joseph Froilan Pinili, Jose Baldado, and Justo Paras.
“This is clearly the handiwork of people who would like to discredit the governor at the expense of public service. We are confident, though, that the rule of law is on our side and that Gov. Degamo will continue to serve his overwhelming mandate from the people,” Vallega-Degamo said.*