DAVAO City council unanimously declared Tuesday as illegal under second reading the "Nograles Park" that caused the suspension of three city executives.

The resolution stemmed from the privilege speech delivered by Councilor Ma. Belen Acosta on August 11, 2009 with regards to the suspension order on City Administrator Wendel Avisado, City Engineer Jose Gestuveo, and Drainage Maintenance Unit Chief Colonel Yusop Jimlani, as well as the naming of Nograles Park at Mini-Forest Boulevard.

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Acosta’s speech was referred to the City Council committee on tourism and beautification, which held a hearing on September 4, 2009.

Committee chair Councilor Susabel Reta read the committee report, which received the approval of the council.

"Upon discussing whether or not the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) has the power to name or rename a park, it was evident that the naming of the park as Nograles Park through mere barangay resolution is a clear violation of the provisions of the Local Government Code and constitute an ultra vires act on the part of the Barangay Council concerned," Reta said.

On the issue of suspension of the three local officials, Reta said the committee "declined to discuss the matter" as the same in already in court.

"We only discussed on the premise on whether the park was illegally named as asserted in Councilor Acosta's speech," Reta said.

Reta also said that as Acosta cited in her speech, the Local Government Code provides "the naming ang renaming of parks in a certain locality the power emanated from the Sangguniang Panlungsod. Only legislations from the Sangguniang Panlungsod through the passage of a corresponding resolution-ordinance can validly name or rename a park located within the territorial jurisdiction of the local government unit."

"In the case of the so-called Nograles Park in Barangay 22-C, the committee found that the same was named as such through a Barangay Resolution passed and approved by the Barangay Council of 22-C," she said.

The councilor also said that during the hearing, it was verified the City Council has not enacted any legislative measure granting approval to the naming of the subject structure.

Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang then filed a follow-up resolution for 14 similarly-named parks in the city to receive investigation from the council on their legality.

"We just want it clear they have to follow our rules. They can, however, apply for the City Council for their approval," Dayanghirang said.

The park is named after House Speaker Prospero Nograles' father, Erico Nograles, although the inscription only says "Nograles Park."

The three executives were issued a preventive suspension order stemming from a case filed by Nograles before the Ombudsman against the City Hall executives for the demolition of a park, which is situated on top of a drainage canal at the mini forest along Quezon Park.

The Ombudsman's suspension order took effect on August 3, 2009 but the Court of Appeals on August 13, 2009 granted a temporary restraining order that also prevents any issuance of suspension orders against the three officials.

Reports in 2008 said the park was constructed in 2002 and was completed in 2006. The park is worth P4 million at the time it was completed but its value at the time it was demolished could reach P7 million.

Residents of Barangay 22 were the ones who requested for the project few years back. It was funded by the Department of Public Works and Highways through the initiative of Speaker Nograles, reports said. (JCZ)