PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has the final say on the replacement of Davao City Councilor Wendel Avisado following the latter's resignation from his post, said regional local government secretary Quirino Libunan.

Avisado announced his resignation as councilor of Davao City's first district Tuesday because he has taken oath as Deputy Secretary General of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) on Monday afternoon before President Aquino.

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Libunan said Wednesday under Section 45 of the Local Government Code of 1991, permanent vacancies in the City Council of highly urbanized cities (HUC) shall be filled by appointment by the President through the Executive Secretary.

"Yung party na kinabibilangan nang nag-resign na official would have the discretion to recommend a person from their party kung sino gusto nilang papalit sa nag-resign," Libunan said through phone interview.

Avisado, who is under Partido Demokratiko Piliino Lakas-Bayan (PDP-Laban), said his resignation will take effect on September 1 upon his assumption as HUDCC official.

Libunan said the official who resigned, with the support of his party, can recommend a relative or candidate who did not win for the same position.

Asked whether the city mayor has the power to veto a recommendation from a resigned official as this was not provided on said statute, Libunan said he does not see why the city mayor should "if the recommendation already has the consent of the President."

"Ministerial na rin yan. It would all follow," Libunan said.

Commission on Elections Regional Director Remlane Tambuang also explained why a candidate who lost in the last elections could not replace Avisado.

"Yung old Local Government Code, it used to be that way, na yung 9th placer or yung last candidate na hindi nakapasok sa number of officials ang papalit. But binago ang local government code at kasali yan. I think nga pag may namatay usually ang kin, anak, or asawa (ang papalit) pero depende yan sa nag-resign," Tambuang said in an interview Thursday.

Tambuang also said it is possible that no one would replace the vacant position if the appointing authority decides so.

Avisado said Aquino appointed through the recommendation of Vice President Jejomar Binay, chairman of HUDCC. (Jade C. Zaldivar)