Virac Councilor Ephraim Antonio Gianan, the object of an ouster move at the Sangguniang Bayan due to his unauthorized absences since March 2020, recently described the twin resolutions passed by the council as “unfair and patently politically motivated.”
In his letter to the august body dated Dec. 31, 2020, Gianan scored his colleagues for the measures that authorized Vice Mayor Arlynn Arcilla to represent the SB in the filing of an administrative complaint against him at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and recommended to the DILG the declaration of a permanent vacancy in the council.
He said that the council found no merit in his argument that he was trapped in Metro Manila by the ECQ declaration, he is at high risk of getting COVID-19 due to his age, and that there is difficulty in travelling at “this dire times as experienced by millions of our countrymen.”
Gianan said he had filed a leave of absence beginning March 13, 2020 and offered to join the Virac sessions via videoconferencing, zoom or online.
Finding a legal opinion of the Provincial Legal Office to be favorable to his cause, the Pasig-based councilor asked his colleagues to consider CSC Resolution No. 2000953, which considers as excused absences those incurred during the imposition of community quarantine by officials and employees who are stranded abroad or locally while on approved personal travel (vacation or sick leave).
The same provision also covers those unable to report for work due to health-risks “provided they are not qualified for work-from-home arrangements” and those unable to report due to localized lockdowns.
On the other hand, the councilor said the same resolution allows officials and employees who failed to report for work to be considered on vacation or sick leave, with the absences charged against earned vacation or sick leave credits.
Gianan said he has signified in his letters that he is not abandoning his mandate as SB member and, in fact, his staff continued to work under his direction and offered alternative means for him to participate given the risk involved in face-to-face sessions in a closed environment.
Saying that it is plain as day that his absence is not of his own volition but forced upon him by the pandemic, he asked his colleagues to rectify their error and take back the twin resolutions seeking his ouster from the council.
The councilor was supposed to arrive on Jan. 8, 2021 but heavy rains cancelled the scheduled flight from Manila.
The pressure now is on the Sangguniang Bayan to either push for Gianan’s removal or accept his justifications for his prolonged absence.
It is claimed that the council has yet to reply to the Dec. 9, 2020 letter of Arch. Angeles Tablizo Jr., who placed 9th in the SB race in 2019, asking to be enlightened on its appropriate actions regarding Gianan’s “prolonged absenteeism” as “I am compelled to make necessary measures for the general welfare and interest of the people of Virac.”
Preceded by two days of heavy rains, the chilly weather that began early Monday morning will likely last until February or even into the early days of March.
This is due to the tail end of the cold front that brings not only precipitation but also cold winds from Siberia at this time of the year.
The Christmas weather also brings with it increased cases of coughs and colds among many residents, especially those with weakened immune systems.
It is best that those with such symptoms take seriously the COVID-19 health protocols especially when they go out in public.
THE DEBT COLLECTOR. Jones applies to a finance agency for a job, but he has no experience. He is so intense that the manager gives him a tough account with the promise that if he collects all the money owing on it, he’ll get the job.
Two hours later, Jones comes back with the entire amount.
“Amazing,” the manager says. “How did you do it?”
“Easy,” Jones replies. “I told him that he didn’t pay up, I’d tell all his other creditors that he paid us.”