TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile called foreign affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay a “swivel chair” for allowing the transfer of the agency’s regional consular office in Cagayan Valley.
In an interview with a local radio, Enrile said Yasay approved the transfer of the regional office of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) from Tuguegarao City in Cagayan to Robinsons Mall in Santiago City in Isabela without knowing the situation.
Tuguegarao City is considered the regional government center in Cagayan Valley.
Enrile said the transfer of the DFA office to Santiago City is against the law as it would defeat purpose of having a center of regional operations.
He said regional centers were created to make it “easier” for people to avail services of different government agencies as it would cause them not to travel to different places.
Enrile, who pushed for the establishment of the regional government center in Tuguegarao, encouraged local officials in the province to go against the move of the DFA.
DFA-Cagayan Valley regional director Florencio Franco said their operations in Tuguegarao City will halt starting January 17.
Franco said their operations in Santiago will only be temporary while awaiting for the construction of the Robinsons Mall in Tuguegarao.
Rappler had known from Tuguegarao officials that DFA is currently had been using an office provided by the city government for free.
Earlier, Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of San Beda Graduate School of Law, warned Franco of possible graft charges should they continue to transfer office.
“Here is fair warning. If you cause the transfer, I shall lead civic spirited Tuguegaraoenos in charging you both administratively and criminally,” Aquino said, saying that the Republic Act 3019 penalizing graft and corrupt practices “has a very broad reach.” –Northernforum.net