By Tara Yap
ILOILO CITY –The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is not recognizing Ciceron “Dodong” Cawaling as the duly-elected town mayor of Malay town in Aklan province after he was dismissed in April by the Office of the Ombudsman for mismanaging world-famous Boracay Island and perpetually disqualified from holding public office following his dismissal.
In his stead, DILG regional director for Western Visayas Ariel Iglesia installed vice-mayor Frolibar “Fromy” Bautista as the acting mayor.
Bautista took his oath before Barangay Captain Ralf Tolosa of Caticlan village before noon yesterday.
Asked by Manila Bulletin if Cawaling agreed to step down, Bautista referred to Cawaling, his running mate as Malay’s “honorary mayor” who was reportedly holding fort in his “former office” pending his appeal to legally occupy the mayoralty seat.
“Whatever the arrangement between Bautista and Cawaling, the DILG does not recognize it,” Iglesia told Manila Bulletin.
The Ombudsman found Cawaling guilty of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, conduct unbecoming of a public official, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service for his role in Boracay’s environmental woes.
“Cawaling is legally not the mayor,” Iglesia maintained.
But Cawaling proceeded to the Malay Municipal Hall Sunday noon and installed himself mayor.
Cawaling claimed he was duly elected by the people of Malay when he beat former mayor John Parcon Yap and proclaimed mayor by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Cawaling showed his certificate of canvass and proclamation from Comelec when he appeared at the municipal hall.