IF AN infrastructure project such as the Capitol’s P1.3-billion Provincial Resource Center is already contained in an approved appropriation ordinance, the local chief executive may no longer need further authorization to enter into a contract.
So said lawyer Ian Lucero, legal counsel of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) 7, after Gov. Hilario Davide III withdrew his request for authority from the Provincial Board (PB) to enter into a contract with the winning bidder that will construct the proposed 20-story facility.
“The source of authority could either come from the SP (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) or pursuant to the Local Government Code, one of which is the appropriation ordinance. If it was indeed already contained in an appropriation ordinance, then that already could suffice,” Lucero said.
Davide informed the PB that he is withdrawing his request for authority through a letter, which was read by Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale before PB members during their session on Monday, Jan. 21, their first this year.
Citing a Supreme Court (SC) en banc decision, Davide said that seeking authority from the PB to enter into a contract with the winning bidder is no longer necessary since the project was “already identified and specified with sufficient detail” under an approved appropriation ordinance in June 2018.
In a 2008 decision on the Quisumbing, et al. vs Garcia (G.R. No. 175527) case, the SC stated that “Sec. 346 of the Local Government Code pertains to that which enacts the local government units’ budget, for which reason no further authorization from the local council is required, the ordinance functioning, as it does, as the legislative authorization of the budget.”
“I am thus withdrawing my request for Sangguniang Panlalawigan authorization. Consequently, it is my respectful submission that there is no need on the part of the honorable presiding officer (Magpale) to rule upon the resolution that was laid on the table,” wrote Davide.
Despite the development, Magpale still ruled on the deferred resolution last Monday afternoon.
Magpale said their house rules provide that the PB gains ownership of a proposed measure once it is presented to the body.
“The measure was presented to us, duly seconded, discussed lengthily, and was even voted upon. I would like to repeat that we do respect the reasons contained here (letter) but now, what’s important is we have to follow our house rules. So with that, it is with deep regret, that I have to rule that the measure did not pass. The DILG contention is we needed nine votes. It is now up to the executive department. They have their prerogative but the ruling of the chair is the measure did not pass,” she added.
Lucero said both Magpale and Davide have raised valid points.
“The vice governor ruled pursuant to their internal rules, while the governor has a point that local chief executives can execute a contract without further authorization if the measure is already contained in an approved ordinance,” he said.
SunStar Cebu tried to reach Davide, but he was not available as of press time.