DOES Cebu Province have a vice governor? If it has, who is he or she? I haven’t heard his or her name on the radio news and read it in the newspapers. What has he or she been doing, especially since we’re in the middle of a health crisis? But wait a minute. The “tuko” (gecko) that has been living on the ceiling of my office at the GMA 7 broadcast complex for years now whispered to me, “We have a vice governor in the person of Hilario Davide III.”
Ah, okay, we have Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III, whose job is to just bang the gavel to signal the opening of the session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) and to bang the gavel again to signal the adjournment of the session. He can never participate in discussions because the Provincial Board is not adopting the Robert’s Rules of Order, wherein the presiding officer can only participate in discussions and deliver a privilege speech if he relinquishes his seat. Under Cebu PB House Rules, the vice governor, who is the presiding officer, cannot participate in discussions. Davide, a lawyer and son of a former Supreme Court chief justice who is his namesake, did not bother to question this rule in the court upon his assumption. He was gagged and he accepted his fate just like that.
The vice governor also cannot exercise his right to vote by breaking a tie because there is nothing to break the tie as the PB is controlled by Gov. Gwen Garcia’s political allies. Davide’s role is plain and simple. He is some sort of a moderator to put order and harmony in the discussions and deliberations. He was not given any committee chairmanship. He is just like a “scarecrow” in the middle of a rice field.
But what’s this I gathered that Davide is hiring four consultants to be assigned under his office. A resolution sponsored by First District PB Member Raul Bacaltos was approved during the last session authorizing Governor Garcia to execute and sign for and in behalf of the Province of Cebu, as the first party, a consultancy contract for the period of six months from Jan. 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 under the Office of the Vice Governor, with the following individual consultants, as the second party thereof: Atty. Joselito Ramon O. Castillo, legal consultant; Atty. Herculene Raymund H. Rizon, consultant on legislative matters; Atty. Orvi Ortega, consultant on cooperatives and social services; and Jesus John Y. Cobar, consultant on special concerns and projects.
Of the four recommendees, I only know Attorney Ortega who is Davide’s townmate from Argao. He used to be a PB member and a provincial legal officer during Davide’s two terms as governor. Ortega was linked to that controversial bidding of a security provider at the Capitol during Davide’s time. I was the one who exposed this. On the other hand, Cobar’s name was also very controversial. His name would surface in every controversy at the Capitol during Davide’s term like that of the questionable bidding of heavy and light equipment where the highest bidder won. He is close to Davide’s wife and called by some Capitol officials as “commissioner.”
Why is Davide hiring these personalities when he has no workload? Does banging the gavel during the opening and closing of the sessions require consultants? This is purely political accommodation by his minions. A total waste of taxpayers’ money. Maayo pag ang mga suweldo aning mga tawhana ihatag sa mga kabus, mapuslan pa.
Governor Garcia should think twice before signing the appointments of these personalities. Maayo man gani i-phase out nang opisina ni Davide. He should be ashamed of himself. He is receiving a salary and yet he is doing nothing. Sitting pretty lang, way trabaho.