Bonifacio town Mayor Samson Dumanjug during and after his arrest.

BONIFACIO, MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL – Local police officers escorted suspended Mayor Samson Dumanjug from the municipal hall on Friday, after resisting a 60-day suspension order for betrayal of public trust.

Dumanjug had to be ushered out by the police for defying the provincial government’s 60-day preventive suspension of him and his wife Vice Mayor Evelyn Dumanjug. Reports said that instead of vacating as ordered, the couple barred access to the Mayor’s Office, the Vice Mayor’s Office, and the Sangguniang Bayan Session Hall.

According to Governor Henry S. Oaminal, Dumanjug and his wife also reportedly occupied an area of the municipal hall’s second floor to live and sleep in “as if it is their own private property,”.

Oaminal also refuted Dumanjug’s claims of political persecution, stating that it is the consequences of “their own doing.”

“Who committed the issue of graft and corruption? Who committed the issue of delivery of secondhand equipment, overpriced, and underfixed?,” Oaminal said.

The mayoral couple is implicated in overpriced, single-bidder, and substandard procurements for the municipality of Bonifacio, leading to some questionable equipment purchases, so the Sangguniang Lungsod issued the suspension order.

According to documentary evidence submitted to the Sanggunian, Dumanjug awarded to Avantrac Heavy Machinery, a Cebu-based company, the supply of one Amphibious Excavator for the price of PhP 29,995,000. However, it was later discovered that the actual market price of the excavator is only PhP 17,892,000; a difference of over 12 million pesos. He also awarded RDAK Transport Equipment a supply contract for a Garbage Compactor Truck priced at PhP 7,495,495; but the market value, at PhP 2,850,000 was also inflated by PhP 4.6 million.

Councilors Ricky R. Bulahan and Alberto A. Cuizon, the two highest ranking Sangguniang Bayan members, will assume their post as Acting Mayor and Acting Vice Mayor, respectively, while the Dumanjugs are suspended. Bulahan noted that after fulfilling the order to act as Municipal Mayor, he had to work in a different building while the Dumajug camped out in the appropriate offices.

“After we received the order, we immediately worked to execute our function so we don’t have any delays in serving the public. However, we had to take half the Department of Interior and Local Government office below the legislative building, since the Dumanjugs have occupied the right ones,” said Bulahan

According to Bonifacio police chief PMaj. Ritchel Sumagang, the suspended Mayor may be charged with a violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code for Resistance and Disobedience to a Person in Authority, as well as a violation of Article 237 or Prolonging Performance of Duties and Powers.

“I’m hopeful for a resolution to this regrettable situation very soon, so that our municipal staff in Bonifacio can continue serving Misamisnons unimpeded, and everyone can do their job effectively,” Oaminal concluded.

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