CEBU City has two acting mayors while Tomas Osmeña is in Japan for a family vacation.
Osmeña penned a memorandum jointly designating Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and City Administrator Veronica Morelos as acting mayors.
The memorandum, which was signed in July 21, was received both by Labella and Morelos only yesterday morning.
“The memorandum is valid until revoked. You are directed to strictly comply, otherwise you shall be charged with criminal, administrative and civil liabilities,” the one-page memorandum states.
Osmeña, in the same memorandum, reminded both Labella and Morelos to refrain from performing acts that are not allowed as provided for under Section 46 of the Local Government Code.
The law states they can’t appoint, suspend or dismiss employees.
“Henceforth, you are also directed to closely coordinate in ensuring the delivery of the day-to-day operations of the City Government and does, hereby, directed to observe/comply all my existing memoranda, duly issued to the various departments,” the memorandum states.
In an interview yesterday, Labella, a lawyer, won’t say if the designation of two acting mayors is allowed. But he said it was never mentioned under the Local Government Code.
“Ang ako lang mosunod lang ko sa mandato. Under the Local Government Code, in the subsequent paragraphs of Section 46, gi-prohibit ang designation of an official or an employee other than the vice mayor,” he said.
Asked if he will be seeking guidance from the Department of Interior and Local Government on the matter, Labella said it is no longer necessary.
“It (law) is very self-explanatory. There is nothing more to be clarified because the law is very explicit, very categorical. In the absence of the mayor, the vice mayor shall act as the acting mayor. And the provision is provided in order to prevent the usual practice before on designating other officials and employees not given the mandate as vice mayor,” he said.
Labella said he intends to meet with all the department heads while Osmeña is still abroad. The mayor flew to Japan last Saturday and will be back on the 27th.
He also said he is ready to collaborate and consult all of the department heads including Morelos while managing City Hall’s affairs.
Morelos, in a separate interview, said her joint designation with Labella is just for purposes of check and balance.
As a policy and practiced by the current administration, all documents that needs to be signed by Labella will have to go through her office first.