SINCE the seventh to the 14th Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), the house rules allowed the vice governor to take part in discussions, hold committee chairmanships and author resolutions and ordinances.

But the house rules of the current SP, or Provincial Board (PB), now prohibits the vice governor from taking part in the deliberations and from sponsoring legislative measures.

Wanting to let the Cebuanos hear about his opinions on matters concerning the province, Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III said he plans to have the 15th SP’s house rules amended.

This, though, will still have to wait for the “appropriate time.”

“I’d like my opinions and views heard also because that is our forum where legislators, including myself, can convey whatever it is they want to relay to the Cebuano electorate,” Davide said on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019.

Davide recalled that before he stepped down as governor, he had called a meeting with the incoming PB members to iron out their house rules before their inaugural session last July 1, 2019.

But in the two meetings he had called, Davide lamented that only his allies accepted his invitations.

The house rules were finally discussed by members of the 15th SP during their caucus on the morning of the inaugural session.

“There I noticed one rule which prohibits me from sponsoring (measures) and from stepping down from the chair (temporarily relinquish seat as presiding officer) to sponsor or express my views. I expressed my reservation. At that time, we had to hurry up because the governor (Gwendolyn Garcia) was scheduled to speak for her inaugural address in the afternoon,” Davide said.

Majority of Davide’s colleagues at the PB, who are allied with the governor, had agreed to the policy.

This means Davide’s functions have been limited to presiding over the session and voting only in the case of a tie during deliberation of the business at hand to “maintain impartiality.”

Section 49 (a) of the Local Government Code of 1991 provides that the vice governor shall be the presiding officer of the SP. The presiding officer shall vote only to break a tie.

“Perhaps some of them believe that my role is only to bang the gavel and preside (over) the session. But for me, I think I should not also be deprived of the right to speak my mind on any matter or issue that may arise. After all, I also represent the Cebuanos. I was elected as vice governor,” Davide said.

Davide’s predecessor, former vice governor Agnes Magpale, had the second highest number of legislative measures among members of the 14th SP with 100 committee reports, close to 200 resolutions and eight approved ordinances. (RTF)