Camiguin governor, wife face complaints over hotel closure

The owner of Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin files complaints against Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo and his wife, ex-governor Maria Luisa Romualdo

Bobby Lagsa

Published: 11:50 AM July 14, 2019

Updated: 11:50 AM July 14, 2019

FACING COMPLAINTS. Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo in a file photo taken in June 2019.

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Complaints were filed against Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus "JJ" Romualdo and his wife, former governor Maria Luisa Romualdo, over the closure of a hotel in the province.

Suzette Good, owner of Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin, filed the complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman on Friday, July 12, accusing the Romualdo couple of graft and grave misconduct.

Good's lawyers claimed that the Romualdos ordered the closure of Bahay Bakasyunan because the businesswoman supported their political rival.

JJ Romualdo had issued the closure order last May 6, when he was still mayor of Camiguin's capital Mambajao, where the hotel is located. But the hotel was able to secure a temporary restraining order and then a writ of preliminary injunction against the closure.

JJ Romualdo said Bahay Bakasyunan was shut down for violating environmental laws.

"In fact, they have violation reports from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources). They are being fined between P500,000 [and] P600,000," the Camiguin governor said in a phone interview.

Good's lawyers denied the hotel committed environmental violations, but documents provided by the lawyers themselves showed the EMB issued 4 violation notices.

Aside from the graft and grave misconduct complaints, JJ Romualdo also faces 3 counts of libel and a P100-million damage suit for allegedly making remarks against the hotel during the campaign period for the May 2019 elections.

Good's lawyers quoted the now-Camiguin governor as saying that Bahay Bakasyunan "throws human waste in private lots, creeks, and even the seas." This claim is false, according to the lawyers.

The lawyers also slammed the Mambajao municipal government for canceling the hotel's business permit.

But the Camiguin governor said, "We will reinstate their business license if they will follow the law." – Rappler.com