CALBAYOG CITY- Three days after the Office of the Ombudsman issued a preventive suspension on her, Catbalogan City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan set aside her reelection bid when she withdrew her certificate of candidacy for mayoralty post at the city office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
However, she will be running for a council seat with her younger brother, Dexter, substituting her to the post she first held in 2013.
Dexter, 25, was a former city federation president of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK).
Mayor Uy-Tan withdrew her certificate of candidacy on November 29, the last day of filing for substitution.
“God knows Uy’s best. We were given time to decide to protect Catbalogan. If we are only thinking for our personal (interests), I will not file for city councilor. I will insist being the Mayor,” Uy-Tan said in a press conference, defending her decision not to seek for reelection in next year’s elections.
She said that she is proud that her younger brother will be running for mayor of Catbalogan, a post held for a long-time by their father,Coefredo.
Uy-Tan was meted with a six-months preventive suspension order by the anti-graft court in two counts.
The suspension order, released on November 26, is in relation to alleged anomalous overpricing of purchase of land from private individuals.
The anti-graft court said that Mayor Uy-Tan and her co-respondents reportedly committed abuse of authority, grave misconduct, and gross neglect for the purchase of the property from private individuals.
The complaint was filed by Bernard Jake Ramos, a city council legislative staff officer, who claimed that they purchased an agricultural land owned by Alvin Cesar Laohoo and Lorenzo Laohoo, Jr. at an ‘exorbitant price’ of P120.225 million when the property had only a market value of P155,497.84 in 2016.
While the other order stemmed from a case filed by the Catbalogan City Public Market vendors for allowing Philippine Primark Properties Inc. (PPPI) to lease the public market.
Also suspended by the anti-graft court were Councilors Maximo Pescos; Edward Uy; Christine Joy Escobar; Beethoven Bermejo, Rodolfo Aquino, and Nanette Jasmin.
Also suspended were city assessor Romero Tuazon and his assistant Arthur Macabare and Rizal Ignacio, employee of the City Assessor’s Office.
As of this writing, Mayor Uy-Tan and her co-respondents have yet to receive copies of the Ombudsman order.
And without the copy of the suspension order, Mayor Uy-Tan could still function the duties and responsibilities of her office, Myles Colasito, regional information officer of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Colasito added that their office has yet to receive the said Ombudsman order.
Meantime, Mayor Uy-Tan asked her critics to stop sending negative comments but instead visit Catbalogan for them to see if indeed the questioned property’s price was over-priced as alleged.
“Let us be thankful that Catbalogan City is P300 million richer because of this lot,” she said.