Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol suspends some P60-million intended for assistance to the town of Butig, in Lanao del Sur, after two of its councilors allegedly molested a female DA staff member.
The councilors, whose photo Pinol attached to his article posted in his FB account, allegedly touched the buttocks of Pinol's staff member while she was taking pictures.
"The staff, a good-looking engineer, said these two officials, whose names I still have to get, touched her butt while she was taking pictures and then laughed," Pinol said in his post.
Pinol and his staff were in Butig on February 9, 2017, in his effort "to reach out to the poorest areas in the country, and to provide assistance to the people."
During his trip he promised to "deliver interventions worth almost P60-million for the development of Butig."
Butig is claimed by the Maute Group, the Abu Sayyaf, and the local ISIS Group as the de facto capital of the Islamic Caliphate in the Philippines.
Because of the alleged incident, Pinol has suspended the assistance he promised to deliver.
"Through this post, I am informing Mayor Pansar that all the assistance for Butig that I promised to deliver will be put on hold until these two ill-mannered municipal councilors apologize to my female staff, to me and to the public for what they did," he said.
Pinol said he cannot just let the incident pass without repercussion.
"I cannot let this pass. They not only molested my staff, but they also insulted and disrespected me."
Pinol also urged Interior and Local Government Secretary Mike Sueno "to take administrative sanctions against these two barbarians whose act now places the welfare of the whole town of Butig in jeopardy."
The Regional Secretary of the DILG in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said "an investigation will be conducted on the molstation of a Department of Agriculture engineer by two municipal councilors of Butig, Lanao del Sur on Feb. 19."
DILG ARMM Secretary Atty. Kirby Matalam Abdullah already called Mayor Pansar "to call the two councilors to explain in writing why they should not be reprimanded or worse suspended."