ORMOC CITY – 13 women filed an administrative complaint for grave misconduct and oppression against a barangay chairman here after he allegedly refused to give them certificates of indigency because they were supporters of Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez and husband Richard Gomez.
The complaint was filed on Friday, January 11, at the Ombudsman-Visayas against Barangay Chairman Samuel Baldizanso of Camp Downes. The barangay chairman is allied with incumbent Mayor Eric Codilla who is challenging Lucy in the district.
In their complaint, the 13 said that since October last year, Baldizanso refused to give them individual certificates of indigency, denying them the privilege of availing free power connection under the National Electrification Administration’s Sitio Electrification Program.
Up to press time, they have no electric connections and continue to live power-less, literally and figuratively. The NEA-SEP is being implemented here through the auspices of Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez.
In their joint affidavit, the complainants said they are all residents of Sitio Liberty of the barangay, an informal settlement within a military reservation.
Teresa Algoy, one of the complainants said that she was the one who first learned of NEA’s electrification program last October yet when it was being implemented already at the neighboring barrio of Bantigue by the electric cooperative here.
To inquire about it, she went to the Leyte Electric Cooperative V to ask how they could avail of it and was shown a list of 67 sitios in Ormoc which were among those funded by NEA for 2012. To her delight, among them was Zone 3 to which Sitio Liberty belongs. Sitio Liberty, in turn, has three puroks listed – Sunflower, Fortune and Rose.
Leyeco V, she added, told them that to avail of the free electrification, she had to secure some documents, including a Certificate of Indigency from the Barangay Chairman.
Since they were many, she said, Baldizanso issued them a certificate of indigency as a group. However, this was rejected by the electric cooperative, saying that the certificates had to be issued individually.
So, they again requested for the issuance of individual certificates but this time, the barangay chairman said he needed more time “to determine if they were all indigents”.
On October 26, 2012, the complainants followed up with the barangay chairman and was surprised when he reportedly went into a tirade, berating them for being on his “list” of people identified with the Gomezes.
“Dili mo makakuha nako ug maski unsa nga certificate kung gamitun ra ninyo para sa congressional office, kay mga tawo mo ni Gomez!” , Baldizanso reportedly told them. (You will never be able to secure any form of certificate from me if the documents would be used for the Congressional Office because you are supporters of Gomez.)
The other complainants also detailed how their barangay chairman reportedly scolded them harshly for “campaigning” for Gomez, even going to other puroks.
The complainants said, “we were very much surprised with the way the respondent dealt with our request and why we were severely berated by the one person we expected would look out for our own interests. We expected to be interviewed to determine whether or not we may be considered as indigent residents of Barangay Camp Downes … but we did not expect the attack that the respondent made on us.”
“Had the respondent taken the pains to actually do his job and try to ascertain if we were indeed indigents, he would have found out that we are indigents. We do not own any real properties, our employment is intermittent as best and if we do earn, our monthly household income would not exceed one thousand pesos a month (Php 1,000.00)”, and that they had no landholdings.
The complainants are asking the Ombudsman to hold Samuel Baldizanzo administratively liable for grave misconduct and oppression pursuant to Civil Service and other relevant laws.