INCOMING mayor Edgardo Labella said he is inclined to give executive functions to city councilors, either to members of his party, Barug PDP Laban, or to Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) stalwarts who want to support his administration. He said his administration will have an “inclusive kind of governance.” Meaning, those who are willing to support his administration, whether they come from the other party, for as long as their intention is for the good of the city, he would welcome them.
I appreciate this gesture of Labella because it only shows that he is not vindictive, unlike his predecessor. He is for reconciliation and unity for the interest of the Cebuanos. I am also supporting his move to give members of the City Council executive functions for as long as he has to “draw the parameters” of their functions. Call it a copycat because it is his predecessor who introduced it. But the setup is a good idea as this would also serve as the training ground for legislators in the executive functions.
As deputy mayor, one has to function as the chief executive’s “point man” in an aspect of his governance. He would serve as the chief operating officer. But he should be given a “‘detailed and specific job description” so as not to abuse his extended power.
What do I mean? As a deputy mayor, one may serve as the chief executive officer’s alter ego. He should closely coordinate with the officers assigned in his designated task. He will report and make recommendations to the mayor. He will support his designated task with legislation and not necessarily directly poking his fingers into it.
The tendency is that if the deputy mayor is given an awesome power, he might usurp or namedrop the mayor or to the extent of acting like the mayor. Look what happened to some past and present designated deputy mayors.
Consider these: former City Councilor Agustus Pe Jr. was once designated as deputy mayor for police matters. Remember what Jun Pe did? During the night, after a drinking session and still reeking with liquor, he would inspect various police stations and scold cops whom he caught sleeping while on duty. He reportedly would act as the police chief and order the reassignment of some policemen he did not like. That is why he was called “Senior Superintendent Jun Pe.”
Here comes Dave Tumulak who is the present deputy mayor for police matters. Dave exceeded his powers. He was not only acting in police matters, but also on fire, disasters and traffic matters. He is called as the “Jack of all trades.” Imagine scolding police officers and traffic enforcers.
It was Dave who reportedly ordered the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) under Francisco “Isko” Ouano not to allow buses and mini buses plying the southern part of the province to pass the national highway especially at the newly constructed underpass because they cause heavy traffic. Who is Dave to issue such order? He did not even consult the stakeholders. Did he take orders from the mayor or was he acting on his own? Why did he issue such an order when there is the CTTO that decides on traffic policies? The CTTO is not a one-man rule.
Take also the case of defeated BOPK vice mayoral candidate Mary Ann Delos Santos who was designated as deputy mayor for hospital. You know what Mary Ann did? She allegedly intervened in the bidding for the construction of the new Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) building. She would intervene in the selection of personnel and suppliers of medicines. She would scold and berate doctors and other CCMC officers. She reportedly failed to account steel bars and hospital beds of the demolished old CCMC building.
I hope that under Labella’s administration, the negative act of the designated deputy mayors will be corrected. He should also choose the right people to take these positions. Kay kung nagpataka lang siya, siya ra gihapon ang madaot ani kung masobrahan ra sa hambug kanang uban nga hatagan ug executive functions.