Executive says ‘golden hands’ may have put ordinance on Rama’s desk-A A +A
Thursday, August 9, 2012
CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday said his veto of the ordinance prohibiting the sale of lots at the South Road Properties (SRP) without the approval of the City Council stands “firm,” as his camp questions the authenticity of his signature on the same ordinance.
The mayor instructed City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete to find out how his signature appeared on the ordinance that he vowed to oppose.
“I have already made a statement that I’m not going to approve it. I have never made any statement that I am going to be for it. I will stand firm on my veto message,” he said.
Rama sent a veto message to the City Council late in the afternoon Tuesday, but he signed the ordinance on Aug. 1. The mayor’s signature appeared on the last page of the ordinance, signifying he approved the measure.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), on the other hand, said the ordinance can be considered valid as it was signed and approved by the mayor.
The mayor declined to give an explanation on what happened.
“I don’t want to speculate because I might end up accusing someone. Poblete will handle the matter because I don’t want to be defending myself, (that would) be self-serving,” he said.
He said he does not know how he could have signed the ordinance when he has not seen the original document. He added that his veto message was based only on a photocopy.
“There is really a question on the authenticity of the signature because what we have seen so far is only the photocopy,” Poblete said.
Poblete, in a separate interview, said “golden hands” may have been at work.
“It is something we cannot rule out. Kay nangutana ko sa tanang staff diri na maagian og documents and one thing is certain, wa gyuy nakakita, wa gyuy nakahibaw nganung naabot to sa lamesa sa mayor (I’ve asked the staff who handles documents and none of them saw or was aware how that ordinance arrived on the mayor’s desk),” he said.
Poblete said, though, that Rama’s signature is a non-issue as the veto message on the ordinance was delivered to the City Council within the prescribed period.
But in the council’s regular session yesterday, the ordinance was noted to be among the resolutions and ordinances approved by the mayor.
But before it was recorded as approved, Councilor Edgardo Labella told the council that Section 54 of the Local Government Code provides that for an ordinance to be considered approved by the mayor, the chief executive’s signature must appear on each page of the document.
“And I understand that on this particular ordinance, it is only signed on the fourth page,” he said.
Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young said that if this was the case, many ordinances would be declared invalid.
The council secretariat said it received the mayor’s veto message and will include it in the agenda for the regular session next week.
Lawyer Ayesh Nogra, DILG 7 legal department chief, said the issue on the effectivity of the ordinance is an “internal” matter that can be resolved by the City Council and Mayor Rama.
“But if the city legislative body will maintain its position that the ordinance is already approved and should not be changed, the mayor has the option to go to court where he can substantiate his claim that he is against it from the beginning,” Nogra said.
She said that if Rama goes to court, he will have to prove he inadvertently signed the ordinance.
Nogra said proving the ordinance is a duplication of the Local Government Code will not make the measure invalid.
She also noted that there were no cases where an ordinance was repealed.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 09, 2012.