ARTA files raps vs Batangas mayor for refusing to grant building permit

Published October 7, 2019, 3:57 PM

by Gabriela Baron & Minka Klaudia Tiangco

By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has filed a complaint against San Nicolas Mayor Lester De Sagun of Batangas before the Office of the Ombudsman Monday afternoon due to his refusal to grant a building permit reportedly without justifiable cause.

Anti-Red Tape Authority (Website / MANILA BULLETIN)
Anti-Red Tape Authority (Website / MANILA BULLETIN)

ARTA wants De Sagun charged for violation of Local Government Code of 1991, as well as Section 60 paragraph (c) and (e) and Section 21 paragraph (a) and (e) of R.A. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act. They also want him preventively suspended from office.

The complaint was filed by Katherine Diane Gahol through ARTA. She complained that De Sagun “deliberately” denied her request for the issuance of building permit despite her submission of all the required documents.

Gahol explained that she needed the permit considering that the electric transformer where their electricity is attached malfunctioned, and they needed to construct and build one immediately.

When De Sagun refused, Gahol sought assistance and the ARTA sent an endorsement letter to the mayor asking him to explain his side. While waiting for him to respond, Gahol even wrote to municipal engineer Guillerma Matienzo and reiterated her side – that she already submitted all the documentary requirements but the mayor refused.

In response, Matienzo said in a letter dated September 5 that the Certificate of Final Electrical Inspection (CFEI) has already been submitted to the mayor’s office since July 3.

Gahol also wrote to Engr. Diosdado Larosa of the Municipal Local Government Operations Office of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) regarding the same concern. Apparently, Larosa tried to get De Sagun to release the permit but De Sagun reportedly told him not to talk about it anymore because “whatever the consequences might be, he will not release your documents.”

De Sagun submitted his response to ARTA on September 11 and said that “his office has no authority to approve the replacement/upgrading of transformer” pursuant to the request of Gahol.

This did not sit well with ARTA, since his response was inconsistent with what Matienzo and Larosa said in their letters. “Consequently, said justification was not even relayed to Mrs. Gahol. It is only at this point that Mayor De Sagun formally acted on said request even if it was merely for its denial,” the complaint stated.

ARTA said that De Sagun is “clearly dishonest and oppressive” for maliciously influencing other officers not to release the permit to Gahol.

“Based on the pieces of evidence submitted by Mrs. Gahol and the above-cited facts, it is clear that the refusal of Mayor De Sagun to act, or even accept the said application was maliciously done without due cause. It is clear that it was deliberately done to oppress Mrs. Gahol and give her a hard time for no justifiable reason,” the complaint added.