THE Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption on Friday filed multiple administrative and criminal charges against Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista and his city councilor brother before the Office of the Ombudsman after the latter recently failed a surprise drug test ordered by city Vice Mayor Joy Belonte-Alimurong.
Specifically, the Bautista brothers were charged with violating Executive Order 292 for dishonesty, neglect of duty, misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service.
They were also accused of violating Section 5 of Republic Act 9165 (the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act), dereliction of duty under the Revised Penal Code, a city ordinance on a “Drug-Free Workplace” and the “Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.”
Under the RA 9165 provision cited by VACC, it is punishable to “sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions.”
VACC chair Dante Jimenez said they filed the charges after Mayor Bautista failed to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in the city while his brother, an incumbent councilor, was identified as a drug user. He also said Mayor Bautista should be held liable for the proliferation of illegal drugs in the city, the spate of summary killings of suspected drug pushers and for turning a blind eye on the substance abuse of his brother.
Meanwhile, Jimenez demanded the resignation of Councilor Bautista instead of him taking a month-long leave to go on retreat after he flunked the drug test.
“Unfortunately for the people of Quezon City, your mayor has reduced the office of the local chief executive as a mere bystander (“miron”) in the government’s fight against illegal drugs,” the VACC said in a statement.
“He did not even care to advise his brother councilor Hero to resign for delicadeza. Is there such a thing as leave of absence for public officials because of substance abuse? This is a message to everyone, particularly local government officials that with more power definitely comes great responsibility to the people,” it added.
Mayor Bautista cannot be contacted for commment because he is in Oslo, Norway as part of the government’s peace panel negotiating with the communist-led National Democratic Front for an end to decades of communist insurgency.
Earlier, Mayor Bautista tearfully denies he is a drug user protector following the privilege speech of his younger brother, Councilor Hero Bautista, where he admitted being a “victim of illegal drugs.”
Bautista, told newsmen, he laments the circulating rumors on social media that he is a drug user coddler and at the same time a drug syndicate protector.
He blamed these rumors on the blind news items aired in radio and television about his brother’s drug use and the fact that two former Quezon City Police District (QCPD) chiefs were last month linked by President Rodrigo Duterte to the illegal drugs trade in his name-and-shame campaign.
“I’m not involved and will never be involved with anyone who transacts illegally in this country,” an adamant Bautista said.
Last month, Pres. Duterte named former QCPD chiefs, Superintendents Joel Pagdilao and Eduardo Tinio, as among the five alleged police drug protectors. They are now the subject of government investigations.
Just recently, 72 QCPD personnel were relieved from their posts over alleged engagement with the narcotics trade and other illegal activities, giving rise to speculations that the youthful mayor of Quezon City is somehow involved in illegal activities.
Although he is not present during his brother’s privilege speech at the Quezon City Council, Bautista said he is proud of Hero for seeking medical intervention.
The young Bautista, in his privilege speech, admitted he was a victim of illegal drugs but stressed that his mayor brother has nothing to do with it. He also volunteered to go on leave to retreat and seek his true self but vowed to return and continue his work as city legislator.
“My brother, as mayor, will never be a drug protector. I am the protector of my brother,” Hero emphatically said in defense of is brother.