Agusan Norte town mayor faces raps at Ombudsman for failing to set up anti-drug council

A VICTIM OF DIRTY POLITICS? Mayor Demosthenes Arabaca of Magallanes, Agusan del Norte is confident he will be vindicated once the Ombudsman hears his side. Contributed photo

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has asked the Office of the Ombudsman to prosecute the mayor of Magallanes town in Agusan del Norte for his alleged failure to organize a local Anti-Illegal Drugs Abuse Council (ADAC).

In a complaint filed on Wednesday, DILG Assistant Secretary Ricojudge Echiverri accused Mayor Demosthenes Arabaca of misconduct and dereliction of his duty “when he failed to form the council in town to fight the proliferation of illegal drugs.”

“The failure of the respondent to create the local ADAC can be classified as a misconduct in office or a dereliction of duty which is among the grounds for discipline, suspension, or removal from office of a local official,” the complaint read.

Arabaca is among 25 mayors included in the second batch of politicians charged at the Ombudsman on Wednesday for not establishing their respective ADACs.

Last March 14, the DILG filed the first batch of administrative complaints of misconduct and dereliction of duty against some 20 mayors.

Of the total 45 mayors, three are from Caraga Region. DILG, however, withheld the names of those two facing the complaints.

According to Echiverri, local executives had given several directives on organizing ADAC but the mayors failed to comply.

“Despite several directives from the DILG and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), the concerned mayors still failed or refused to comply with the said orders and their towns are among those that are without an organized and functional ADAC,” he said.

Echiverri also hinted at “more batches to come”, claiming around 800 more mayors will face the same charges for ADACs categorized under “low functionality” or without full compliance.

For his part, Arabaca expressed readiness to answer the charges against him, saying he is confident that he will be vindicated.

“I have nothing to hide. Magallanes has a drug council and we have records to back it up,” Arabaca told Bombo Radyo Butuan, adding that that his political enemies could have given the DILG wrong information about him.

Arabaca also denied he was sleeping on the job, saying he was a victim of dirty politics. By CLC

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