The Quezon City Government suspended a high-ranking official after being found liable for sexual harassment against another employee.
It will be recalled that during the celebration of Women’s Month in March 2022, Mayor Belmonte declared a ‘zero tolerance’ policy for violence, abuse, and sexual harassment in Quezon City Hall in respect of all the women workers of the city government.
“We condemn all these vile acts of harassment against women, especially among our own officials and employees. The Quezon City Government is committed to addressing all sexual harassment cases regardless of gender and position in any department,” Mayor Belmonte said.
In the complaint letter addressed to Mayor Joy Belmonte, the female employee-complainant detailed several acts of verbal and physical sexual harassment against the high-ranking official. The said complaint was then forwarded to the Committee on Decorum and Investigation – Legislative Department (CODI-Legis) for corresponding investigation and recommendation.
After a series of hearings, Vice Mayor Gian Sotto as the disciplining authority for the legislative department found the official guilty of a less grave offense of sexual harassment defined under Memorandum Circular No. 12-S2020 and 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, with a penalty of suspension without pay for six months.
“We will always advocate an office culture that values and uplifts one another. Our work environment should reflect that we are servants of God, and this includes ensuring that all employees will feel safe and protected, by not tolerating any misconduct,” said Vice Mayor Sotto, who is also the honorary member of QC Men Opposed to Violence against Women Everywhere (MOVE).
Belmonte also encouraged city government employees to report any act of harassment and abuse in order to break the culture of silence brought about by the fear of losing their jobs or the chance of being promoted, especially if perpetrators are superiors.
“May this case serve as a reminder to our employees that we will not be complacent against any erring employee or official. We encourage all victims of abuse to report to our Gender and Development Office so we can initiate proper administrative and legal action,” Belmonte added.
Mayor Belmonte recently signed Executive Order No. 12-s2022 appointing female department heads as the chairpersons and members of the Committee on Decorum and Investigation for the Executive Department.
This is in line with Civil Service Commission Memorandum Circular No. 11-s2021 in relation to RA 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act which states that “Every CODI shall be headed by a woman and not less than half of its members shall be women.”
Another sexual harassment complaint filed at the QC CODI-Executive against another local government employee is currently being investigated.
Belmonte assured that the the city government will remain vigilant against sexual offenses and other violations of the rights of its employees.