AN APPOINTED local official has to be a resident of the locality before his or her appointment.
Lack of residency was the ground used by the Lapu-Lapu City Council when it junked on majority vote the appoinment of lawyer Danilo Almendras as city administrator last Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019.
Mayor Junard Chan appointed Almendras last July 15. During the session Thursday, the Council voted 7-5 to reject Almendras.
What happened to Almendras may serve as a warning to other appointive local officials, as well, and the local government unit (LGU) that named new heads of departments after they assumed office last June 30.
According to Administrative Order 270 prescribing the implementing rules and regulations of the Local Government Code of 1991, the requirement for an appointive local official to be a resident of the LGU concerned shall be construed to mean actual residence in the locality for at least six months immediately preceding his appointment.
Before his appointment as Lapu-Lapu City administrator, Almendras was Mandaue City administrator, Cebu City administrator, and, before that, director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Cebu City office.
Councilor Gregorio Paquibot, who moved for the approval of Almendras’s appointment in the Council, said the city administrator was able to present a certification from the treasurer of a subdivision in Barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu City, attesting to his residency there.
Section 480 of the Local Government Code said: “No person shall be appointed administrator unless he is a citizen of the Philippines, a resident of the local government unit concerned, of good moral character, a holder of a college degree preferably in public administration, law, or any other related course from a recognized college or university, and a first grade civil service eligible or its equivalent.”
But, on the part of Lapu-Lapu City Legal Officer James Sayson, the Council decision was without effect.
“Mahug wala ra to gamit ilaha (Its action was useless), and that was just an exercise in futility,” Sayson said.
The Council apparently acted late, so Almendras’s appointment became automatically confirmed.
Section 454 of the Local Government Code says the Council “shall act on the appointment within 15 days from its submission, otherwise the same shall be deemed confirmed.”
Sayson said that, on July 30, the City Council issued a certification that no action has been taken on the mayor’s endorsement of Almendras.
He said City Hall then endorsed the confirmation of Almendras to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on Aug. 2.
They are now awaiting CSC confirmation, Sayson said.
During the Council session, Paquibot was the one who moved for the approval of Almendras’s appoinment. Councilor Flaviano Hiyas objected, leading to a vote. Seven of the 12 councilors voted against, while five voted in favor of the appointment of Almendras.
The seven councilors who voted against are allied with former mayor Paz Radaza. They are Hiyas, Eduardo Cuizon, Queenie Malingin-Amman, Rex Mangubat, Rudy Potot, Marcial Ycong and ex-officio member Laika Tampus, representing the youth federation.
The five who voted yes were Paquibot, Ricardo Amores, Janvi Dela Serna, Nelson Yap and Efren Herrera. Dela Serna and Yap are allied with Mayor Chan.
Councilor Junrey Gestopa abstained.