HATRED & RETALIATION? City Hall exec questions motive behind admin raps

Embattled couple Eireen (left) and Romeo Caesar “Juncae” Manikan Jr. question the motives behind the cases filed against them by fellow Iloilo City Hall workers.

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

ILOILO City Tourism Office assistant department head Eireen Rita Manikan questioned the motive of the complainant by the City Hall employee who filed administrative charges against her.

In her comment ad cautelam (for caution or as a precaution), she vehemently denied all the allegations against her as contained in the complaint-affidavit of Michael Soliman.

According to Eireen, Soliman filed the instant case against her “out of hatred, ill-motive, out of spite and to harass, or for purposes of retaliation”.

“Soliman was the subject of several prior documented and recorded complaints before the Iloilo City Customer Care Services Office and Iloilo City Civil Registry Office (CCRO) for various grave and serious offenses,” she said.

Eireen added that Soliman was reassigned from the CCRO by its head of office, her husband Romeo Caesar “Juncae” Manikan Jr., who is also under fire by the current administration over alleged defective marriages uncovered at his office.

“The complainant Soliman is driven and motivated by hatred or ill motive against, spite for and to harass Romeo Caesar Manikan by the filing of the instant complaint against the undersigned subject, for purposes of harassment and retaliation,” Eireen furthered.

“The instant complaint is not an impartial, independent, authentic, valid, and voluntary cause of action and/or grievance, but an act purely motivated by a personal vendetta by Soliman against the undersigned and her spouse,” she stated in her comment.

Soliman, who works as a job hire at CCRO, filed the complaint against Eireen for failure to act promptly on requests, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service in relation to the performance of her functions as officer-in-charge of the Customer Service Desk of the city government.

In his affidavit, he also implicated Eireen’s husband, Romeo Caesar, another employee of the LCRO, Joe Marie Esteral, for grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and for violation of Section 3 (h) of Republic Act No. 3019.

Soliman claimed that Romeo Caesar, through his alleged bag man Esteral, had been collecting fees for the processing of live birth certificates.

He also alleged that Romeo Caesar, being the department head of the LCRO, issued marriage licenses even if the couples did not comply with the tree planting and marriage counselling requirements in exchange of extra fees collected by Esteral.

According to Soliman, the acts of Romeo Caesar was reported to the Customer Care Services then headed by Eireen Rita but she failed to act upon the issue against her husband.

“The act of Eireen Manikan in failing to act on complaints constitutes the offense of failure to act promptly on requests and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service,” Soliman said.

But Eireen reiterated that Soliman failed to state in his affidavit a cause of action against her for the cases he filed.

“The alleged complainant has not stated/narrated relevant and material facts which show the acts of or omission allegedly committed. The charge of failure to act promptly on requests and/or the consequent charge of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service is predicated on the condition that a request, report and/or communication of a specific time-frame and/or period has been made by the complainant in the first place,” the comment read.

“It only logically follows that there being no specific and/or particular report, request, and/or communication of a specified time frame and/or period alleged, prompt service by Eireen thereon, cannot be in any factual, legal, or logical way, be determined to have been made or not made.”

Hence, Eireen added that a prima-facie evidence against her “is impossible to be determined from the patent and clear absence of allegations of relevant and material application of the complainant”.

Eireen also denied the allegations of City Hall employees Gina Jose and Donephine Domingo who accused her of electioneering for campaigning for former mayor Jose Espinosa III.

According to Eireen, she does not know, nor has personally met, nor ever interacted with Jose and Domingo.

Furthermore, she does not have the authority over Jose and Domingo to cause the alleged acts complained of.

“The complainants do not work for the undersigned subject, nor are they subordinates and/or underlings of Manikan, as in fact the latter has not met, does not know, nor personally interacted with the complainants at any given time, hence it makes no cogent, factual, legal nor logical reason that they can even be “summoned and/or ordered to appear before the undersigned,” Eireen said.

In their joint complain-affidavit, Domingo and Jose claimed that they were threatened to support the candidacy of former mayor Espinosa, who ran for mayor in the May 13, 2019 midterm elections but lost to Treñas, otherwise they will be terminated from their work.

Aside from Eireen, they also accused Vincent de la Cruz of the Local Economic Enterprise Office (LEEO).