Tuesday , April 24, 2018

Osmeña’s appointment of deputy mayors questioned

A FORMER official of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 has filed a case against Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and 10 other city officials over the appointment of deputy mayors.

Lawyer Florencio Villarin, former head of NBI 7, filed an administrative complaint against Osmeña, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and nine others for dishonesty, grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service, culpable violation of the Local Government Code (LGC), and violation of the Constitution and Presidential Decree 6713.

Other respondents of the case are Councilors Eugenio Gabuya Jr., Joy Augustus Young, Sisinio Andales, Margarita Osmeña, Alvin Arcilla, Mary Ann delos Santos, Dave Tumulak, Nendell Hanz Abella and Jerry Guardo.

In his complaint, Villarin said Osmeña has no authority to appoint the councilors as his deputy mayors as it violates the principle of separation of powers of the State, or the system of check and balance.

In a memorandum dated July 1, 2016, the mayor appointed Gabuya, Young, Andales, Osmeña, Arcilla and delos Santos, who are all his allies, as deputy mayors.

On Sept. 22, Osmeña appointed Abella and Tumulak, after the two defected from Team Rama, as deputy mayors. He also later issued another appointment for Guardo.

They are tasked “to perform certain executive functions related to the general areas of concerns.”

Osmeña said he has the authority to appoint deputy mayors as provided for under Article 1, Section 455, paragraph (b) of the LGC. It allows mayors to appoint officials and employees.

But Villarin said the provision is not applicable in the situation.

“Article 1, Section 455 of the LGC is clear that Mayor Osmeña can only appoint officials and employees of the executive branch of the City Government and, certainly, he cannot appoint any member of the City Council to any of the position in the executive branch because councilors are members of the legislative branch,” he said.

But Osmeña said his deputy mayors are not performing executive functions directly.

“They help me in making decisions. The deputy mayor is just a title and a recognition of their responsibility but they don’t sign the vouchers. The department heads sign the vouchers but I look for the initials of the deputy mayors below it,” he said. (RVC)