CITY EMPLOYEE DEFIES TREÑAS: Dumpsite reassignment called ‘unlawful, oppressive’

Iloilo City Hall. IAN PAUL CIRDERO/PN
Iloilo City Hall. IAN PAUL CIRDERO/PN

ILOILO City – The city government employee protesting his transfer to the Calajunan dumpsite in Mandurriao district reported back to his mother unit – the civil registry office at city hall – in defiance of Mayor Jerry Treñas’ order. Joe Mari Esteral called his reassignment “unjust and painful.”

Days after hauling Treñas to the Office of the Ombudsman for grave misconduct and oppression, among others, Esteral wrote the mayor: “I would like to respectfully inform you that effective tomorrow, Sept. 19, 2019, I can no longer abide by your unlawful and oppressive reassignment order.”

Copies of the letter were also sent to City Civil Registrar Romeo Caesar Manikan Jr., the Civil Service Commission, City Budget Officer Ninda Atinado, City Accountant Michelle Lopez, and Human Resource Management Office head Leo Elevencione.

Esteral, a Bookbinder II at the Local Civil Registry, received the order for his dumpsite reassignment on Aug. 19. He readily complied with it although, he said, he was shocked.

The order, according to Esteral, was signed by Treñas and other high-ranking city government officials.

Aside from Treñas, Esteral also filed complaints (grave coercion, grave misconduct, oppression, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, unfair discrimination due to affiliation) before the Ombudsman against City Administrator Melchor Tan, City General Services Office head Joren Sartorio, City Legal Officer Edgardo Gil, Iloilo City Civil Registry assistant department head Cherry Ampig, and Treñas’ executive assistants Fernando Jose Rico and Rudiver Junco Sr.

“Every day of my life there, the agony was becoming unbearable. I have to travel for a longer distance and spend twice than my usual fare. I realize that what is being done to me is very unjust and painful. There are many bookbinders, why me,” according Esteral.

His dumpsite reassignment, Esteral further stated, curtailed him from performing his duty as bookbinder.

“Why should it be me at the dumpsite when the General Services Office has so many employees being assigned to other departments or offices,” asked Esteral.

Read part of his letter to Treñas: “After almost a month of complying to the said order…I regret that I cannot further succumb to an illegal order. I can no longer give my consent to the oppression being done unto me. As a matter of fact I have already filed appropriate cases for the vindication of my right.”

In a previous interview, Treñas said he would answer Esteral’s complaint when he receives a copy of it.

His executive assistants and department heads also denied coercing, oppressing or threatening Esteral.

Jungco believed there was somebody else behind the filing of the complaint.

Ampig, on the other hand, declined to comment but said it was within Esteral’s rights to file a complaint.

Esteral stated in his complaint that he learned about his reassignment from Sartorio.

Sartorio, he claimed, told him, “Jom, bal-an mo na gid na, Jom. Sa babaw na. Wala ko mahimo. Akig gid si Mayor kag si Melchor kay boss mo Juncae. Siguro damay ka lang di, pero kay boss mo gid sila akig kag sa ila grupo.”

Juncae is City Civil Registrar Romeo Caesar Manikan Jr.

The civil registry office is under fire for the registration of alleged fake marriages.

For his part, Rico said he merely asked Esteral if the corruption allegations against the civil registry office were true.

“Akon panagupnop may tawo sa likod sini nga i-embarrass kami. Kami pa gani gina-harass kay te waay gid kami ka amo sina sa iya,” said Rico.

Sartorio, on the other hand, refused to comment except to say he was saddened because of the “stereotyping” of the work at the Calajunan dumpsite./PN

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