The Office of the Ombudsman has recently ordered the dismissal of Mayor Rosendo Labadlabad of Sindangan town in Zamboanga Del Norte for grave misconduct. The mayor’s offense? Allowing cockfights to take place during the celebration of the town fiesta.
In addition to the dismissal, the Ombudsman has also imposed the perpetual disqualification of Mayor Labadlabad, along with several village heads, from holding any government position. The village heads include Antonio Mohametano of Bago village, Zosima Dela Cerna of Calatunan village, Joselito Espinas of Ramon Magsaysay village, Myzandro Dagondong of Mandih village, and Rebecca Lafuente, treasurer of Bago village. This disqualification also entails the forfeiture of their retirement benefits.
The Ombudsman’s decision, a ten-page document made public on December 15, highlights the violation of both Presidential Decree 449 and Republic Act 7160. According to Presidential Decree 449, cockfighting is only allowed in licensed cockpit arenas. Republic Act 7160, on the other hand, explicitly states that government officials are prohibited from having any interests in any cockpits or other games licensed by a local government unit.
It is worth noting that Mayor Labadlabad is a former Zamboanga Del Norte second district representative and the president of the Zamboanga Del Norte League of Municipalities. Furthermore, he is married to the incumbent Zamboanga Del Norte Second District representative, Glona Labadlabad.
This case serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding the law and maintaining the integrity of public officials. The Ombudsman’s decision reflects a commitment to ensuring that government officials are held accountable for their actions, regardless of their position or influence.
While cockfighting may be a cultural tradition in some areas, it is crucial to recognize that laws and regulations exist for a reason. These laws aim to protect the welfare of both animals and the general public. By allowing cockfights to take place outside of licensed cockpit arenas, the mayor and the village officials disregarded the established rules and put the community at risk.
The decision of the Ombudsman also sends a clear message that public officials must act in the best interest of their constituents and avoid any conflicts of interest. The prohibition on government officials having any interests in cockpits or other licensed games helps prevent corruption and ensures fair governance.
It is important to note that this case is specific to the local laws and regulations of Sindangan town in Zamboanga Del Norte. However, the principles underlying the Ombudsman’s decision are applicable to any jurisdiction. Upholding the law and maintaining the trust of the public are fundamental responsibilities of government officials worldwide.
In conclusion, the dismissal of Mayor Labadlabad and the village heads for allowing illegal cockfights during the town fiesta serves as a reminder of the need for accountability and adherence to the law. The Ombudsman’s decision sends a strong message that no one is above the law, regardless of their position or influence. Upholding the integrity of public officials is essential for ensuring good governance and promoting the welfare of the community.
Source: The Manila Times