RENGELLE Nacua Pelayo is a former ex-officio member of the Cebu City Council representing the youth sector. On Dec. 6, 2007, she was 17 and SK chairperson of Barangay Buhisan when the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation (SKF) elected her as its chairperson.
The other day (Sept. 19), Councilor Joel Garganera identified Pelayo, now 27, as the nominee whom BOPK, through Mayor Tomas Osmeña, wants to fill the vacancy left by resigned councilor Nendell Hanz Abella.
What’s legally wrong with that?
Rengelle does not belong to Team Rama, the local party that in 2016 supported former vice president Jojo Binay’s UNA, which under the Local Government Code has the right to nominate Abella’s replacement.
On the contrary, Rengelle is known to be an ally of BOPK, the rival of UNA and Team Rama in the city’s last elections.
Rengelle told The Freeman, in a Dec. 7, 2007 story, that she was surprised when she learned that Tomas picked her over her rivals in the SK Federation.
But isn’t SK non-partisan? Theoretically yes but politicians fight teeth and claws over the SKF slot, which counts for one more vote in the City Council. Even the Comelec nurtures the “non-partisan” fiction. When asked if Tomas’s support for Rengelle would disqualify her, then city election officer Marchel Sarno said Tomas did it, haha, “in his personal capacity,” not for his party “which was not even registered as a party.”
Party affliliation would’ve bearing in the choice for Abella’s replacement only on one thing: the substitute councilor must belong to the party under which the substituted councilor ran. And that was: the party that Abella listed in his C.O.C. or certificate of candidacy, nothing else. It doesn’t matter whether:
 after the election, Abella shed off his Team Rama stripes;
 or Abella became a BOPK member; BOPK has no right to his vacant seat;
 or some members of Team Rama already defected to PDP-Laban.
The law is explicit on succession. The appointee must be a member of the party under which he the resigned councilor ran and won, “PERIOD!” -- as former White House press secretary Sean Spicer would say in full-throated zest.
Abella’s would-be replacement must present to the executive secretary: the certification that Abella ran and won under UNA and the nomination from UNA’s highest official, Jojo Binay.
The spoiler, of course, would be if:
 Binay would stab Team Rama in the front and appoint Pelayo or anyone else pushed by Tomas, and,
 Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdia (whose command is the president’s wish) would appoint an undeserving and illegal nominee.
Those are the things to watch. And this: how Rengelle would play her part. Would we see good virtues she learned from her SKF years prevail over the street-smart tricks her political mentors may have taught her?
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 21, 2017.
Latest issues of SunStar Cebu also available on your mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. Subscribe to our digital editions at epaper.sunstar.com.ph and get a free seven-day trial.