QC Hall Suspends an Executive Amid Sexual Harassment Complaints

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City local government dismissed a high-ranking official Friday after he was found responsible for sexual harassment against another employee.

“We condemn any heinous acts of sexual harassment against women, including among our own authorities and staff.” Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte stated in a statement given to reporters Friday afternoon, “The Quezon City Government is dedicated to handling all sexual harassment incidents, regardless of gender or rank in any department.”

The municipal administration also revealed that another sexual harassment accusation submitted against another local government employee is presently being probed by the Committee on Decorum and Investigation-Legislative Department, or QC CODI-Executive.

Belmonte cited her administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy for assault, abuse, and sexual harassment at Quezon City Hall, which she proclaimed following Women’s Month in March 2022.

The female employee-complainant documented many instances of verbal and physical sexual harassment against the high-ranking official who was not identified in the statement in the complaint letter delivered to Belmonte.

The complaint was subsequently sent to the QC CODI for further investigation and recommendation.

Following a series of hearings, Vice Mayor Gian Sotto, the legislative department’s discipline authority, found the official guilty of a less serious charge of sexual harassment, punishable by a six-month suspension without pay.

“We will constantly push for an office culture that loves and uplifts one another; our work environment should reflect that we are God’s servants, and this includes ensuring that all employees feel secure and protected by not allowing any wrongdoing,” Sotto stated.

Belmonte also encouraged local government employees to report any form of harassment or abuse in order to overcome the culture of silence created by the fear of losing their employment or the opportunity to advance, particularly if the abusers are superiors.

“May this case serve as a warning to our staff that we will not tolerate any erring employee or official.” We encourage all victims of abuse to contact our Gender and Development Office so that appropriate administrative and judicial action can be taken,” Belmonte added.

Belmonte recently issued an executive order designating women as department heads, chairpersons, and members of the Executive Department’s Committee on Decorum and Investigation.

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