CEBU City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella wants the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to say whether two acting mayors can be designated in a local government unit.
Before leaving for Japan over the weekend, Mayor Tomas Osmeña designated Labella and City Administrator Veronica Morelos as acting mayors.
Osmeña will report back to City Hall today, but he is set to fly to the United States on Aug. 4 to 14 for his annual checkup.
“Although I do not find it necessary to seek an opinion on the matter because the law is explicit, categorical and self-explanatory already, it (situation) is really odd. I was told that it is only in Cebu City that two acting mayors are designated and the other is not even elected by the people,” Labella said.
The request for legal opinion was penned by Labella’s executive assistant, Atty. Mary Rose Salvatierra, and was sent to DILG Cebu City Director Emma Calvo last Tuesday.
In her two-page letter, Salvatierra asked for DILG’s guidance since Section 46 of the Local Government Code states that when a governor, city or municipal mayor or barangay captain is traveling abroad, “the vice mayor, city or municipal vice mayor, or the highest ranking Sangguniang barangay member shall automatically exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions of the local chief executive.”
They won’t have the power, however, to appoint, suspend or dismiss employees, the same provision states. Such can only be exercised if the “temporary incapacity” of the incumbent chief executive exceeds 30 days.
“Nowhere in the Local Government Code does it provide for a joint designation of acting mayor in the event that there is a temporary vacancy in the office of the local chief executive. Thus, this office is at a quandary,” she said.
Labella said it will serve as future reference not only for him but also to the next set of city officials.