Gov. Roel Degamo remained adamant and refused to leave the Capitol last night even as Vice Governor Edward Mark Macias already took his oath as governor past 5 p.m. yesterday, before Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Gerardo Paguio Jr.
This after the Department of Interior and Local Government Negros Island Region OIC director, Margie Biligan, served the dismissal order of the Office of the Ombudsman to Degamo at past 4 p.m.
Degamo refused to receive the order since he said he has not received a copy of the Ombudsman decision dismissing him from office. He said the DILG’s implementation of the Ombudsman’s order was illegal and highly irregular, since he as respondent has not received a copy of such order, that he said is so unfair.
Biligan was accorded heavy security in serving the order, with more than 100 policemen, headed by Senior Supt. Harris Fama, acting director of the Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office, amid hundreds of Degamo’s supporters blocking the main door of the Capitol building.
However, cooler heads prevailed and Biligan and DILG provincial director Dennis Quiñones met with Degamo’s lawyers, assistant provincial administrator Froilan Pinili and Justo Paras, assisted by attorneys Nevino Cardente and Jose Baldado.
After posting copies of the order of the Ombudsman on the walls of the Capitol, Biligan proceeded to the Royal Suites Inn in Bantayan, Dumaguete City, where Macias was waiting to take oath as governor. Biligan said she merely brought the order for Macias to assume the top post in the province.
Degamo’s dismissal stemmed from the complaint filed by June Vicente Manuel Gaudan for malversation of public funds and grave misconduct on the use of the P480 million calamity fund in 2012, after the province was badly devastated by typhoon Sendong.
The governor had earlier said that legal remedies have been exhausted in telling the people of Negros Oriental that he is still the governor of the province. Degamo said he considers the case against him a political harassment by his opponents, who cannot accept defeat.
Meanwhile, the vice governor’s position is vacant after Macias assumed as governor.
By law, Board Member Liland Estacion would have assumed as vice governor, being the number one SP member, but the DILG did not have any order for her to assume the post.
In an earlier interview, Estacion said she will not assume as vice governor even for two weeks out of respect to the governor, who, she added, is unfairly judged without the benefit of the due process of law.
Dumaguete mayor-elect Felipe Antonio Remollo, who is a lawyer, had earlier said the order may be executory but it is not final, as Degamo, upon receipt of the order, has five days to make an answer.
The problem is that Degamo did not receive such order and the DILG ignored the pleadings of his lawyers not to implement it.
Macias said he will issue a memorandum informing all department heads that he is now the governor of Negros Oriental.
Since Degamo will not vacate his office, Macias said he will discharge his duties and functions as governor at his office at the legislative building. He said initial plans include looking into the records of job orders.
Macias, as reelected vice governor, is expected to sit as governor on June 30, when the winners in the May 9 polls start to assume their respective posts. BM Mariant Escaño Villegas of the second district is ready to assume as vice governor under the law of succession.*JG