CANIGAO ISLAND. Tourists are beginning to flock and enjoy the aquamarine and freshwater of Canigao Island off Matalom, Leyte. Canigao Island is one of the favorite destinations in Leyte, especially during summer times.(DEFINITELY PINOY)

Relative to the SK city federation polls

TACLOBAN CITY– The director of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) this city was slapped with criminal and administrative charges related to the recently-held Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Tacloban city federation elections.

Charged before the Office of the Office of Ombudsman Visayas in Cebu City was City DILG Director Visitacion Giva for her alleged ‘blatant and gross’ violations of DILG memoranda relative to the conduct of the SK Tacloban city federation elections held last November 14, 2023.

The complaint filed against Giva was filed by Maxinne Allyssa Roseño, SK chairman of Barangay 109-A, V and G subdivision, this city, before the anti-graft court on December 22, 2023.

“Respondent miserably failed to observe, monitor, and ensure the orderly and smooth conduct of the SK Panlungsod na Pederasyon election in Tacloban City,” she said on her 15-page complaint, a copy of which was obtained by Leyte Samar Daily Express.

“(Respondent), being installed in a position of public trust, has the obligation to perform the functions of her office in good faith and to the best of her ability, using reasonable skills and diligence, particularly where rights of individuals may be jeopardized by (her) action,” Roseño added.

She asked the Ombudsman that the election of the SK Tacloban City Federation be nullified and to dismiss Giva from government service.

Reached for her comment, Giva said that she has yet to receive the copy of the complaint filed against her by Roseño.

She, however, said that once she received a copy, she would answer the complaint.
“I was just informed by our regional director (Arnel Agabe) about it. I have yet to receive a copy of the complaint,” Giva said.

The city DILG official was charged with violation of the DILG Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2023-168 mandating all SK chairmen who are joining the federation elections to shell out P1,700 sourced from their SK funds to cover the cost of meals, and supplies, among others.

Giva, the complainant claimed, did not collect the amount as mandated nor issued official receipts. Many of the SK leaders have made cash advances for this purpose, Roseño said.
Giva also did not ask the newly-elected SK chairmen for their oath of office or the SK mandatory training certificate of completion or attendance but just their certificate of proclamation, contrary to MC 2023-168, Roseño said.

Roseño also said that the acts of Giva were also in violation of RA 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Official and Employees; and RA 9485, or the Anti-Red Tape Act.

Roseño also noted that the official ballots used during the election bore numbers or ‘coding scheme’ that corresponds to the name and barangay number of the SK chairpersons to influence the election which undermines the secrecy of the ballots and is inconsistent with the principle of maintaining the secrecy and confidentiality of the ballot under our election law, a clear violation of DILG-Comelec-NYC JMC No. 2017-01.

“In the conduct of the election, the nomination process was rigged to favor a certain candidate. While many SK chairpersons were still raising their hands to be recognized, the SK election committee chairperson following a script and in a cue, abruptly closed the nomination for the SK city federation president, thereby closing the chance of other interested candidates to be nominated,” Roseño said in her complaint.