Osmeña’s ‘logic’-A A +A
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
IF SOUTH district Rep. Tomas Osmeña has his way, he would disqualify Councilor Edgardo Labella from seeking the post of vice mayor in the May elections. A report last Sunday in Cebu Daily News quoted Osmeña as saying that “Labella is also barred from running as vice mayor because he forms part of the city council where the vice mayor is the presiding officer.” Naunsa na ni?
Osmeña issued the statement as he assailed Team Rama for questioning a portion of the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) first division in the case of his Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) stalwart Councilor Augustus Pe Jr. The first division disqualified Pe from seeking a council seat in the south district for lack of residency.
But it ruled that Pe’s running for a fourth term in the city council by transferring from the north to the south district is not covered by the law on term limits because the south district is a separate and distinct political jurisdiction from the north.
The voters in the north who placed him in the council for three consecutive terms are different from the voters in the south, the first division said.
The Comelec decision raised some eyebrows in legal circles. Pe and Team Rama are filing a motion for reconsiderations as both are not satisfied with the division's ruling. Pe wants the Comelec to reverse its decision on the residency issue while Team Rama wants to “pin down” Pe on the three-term limit.
I think the honorable congressman from the south should consult legal luminaries first before he opens his mouth especially on legal matters. This does not speak well of him--that he issues a statement without thinking of its repercussion, especially now that he is a legislator. It also shows that he lacks research, thereby making himself a laughingstock.
Why would Labella be disqualified from running for vice mayor? He is not running for the same position after his three terms as councilor of the north district expire on June 30. Labella is not power-hungry unlike Pe. He was offered by Mayor Michael Rama to be his running mate and he is qualified for the said post. The position of vice mayor is different from that of a councilor.
In the political setup of local governments, the positions are specifically categorized. We elect a mayor, a vice mayor and a number of councilors.
That's it. Is the vice mayor’s position the same as that of a councilor just because he presides over the council? Of course not. If Tomas insists on this, then I would challenge him to produce the law that bars a councilor or a member of the provincial board from running for the post of vice mayor or vice governor, respectively.
Section 8, Article 10 of the Constitution and Section 43 (b) of the Local Government Code set the term limit of elective local officials to three consecutive terms. After that, they are already barred from running for the same position.
If we follow Tomas's logic, then Comelec would have already been flooded with petitions against councilors running for vice mayor since the Constitution was ratified in 1987 and the Local Government Code was passed in 1991. What an opinion.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 19, 2013.