Seares: Can Davide give up Fuente?

AMONG the "powers, duties and functions" of a governor under the Local Government Code are:

-- "to adopt adequate measures to safeguard and conserve land... and other resources of the province" and

-- to "institute or cause to be instituted administrative and judicial proceedings... for the recovery of property" and defend the province against lawsuits to ensure that its "interests, resources and rights" are "adequately protected."

Is Cebu Gov. Junjun Davide doing his job when he indicated he'd give up litigation over Fuente Osmeña against Cebu City? Capitol's provincial attorney Orvi Ortega said the client makes the call and and the governor won't appeal. Can Junjun legally do that?

Davide is not the province of Cebu, as ex-governor Pablo Garcia noted. The dispute involves land, among the "resources" Junjun is duty-bound to protect. Abandoning the lawsuit amounts to giving away Capitol asset, which the governor may not decide alone.

But the Provincial Board most likely will agree with Junjun and go with his "Fuente belongs to all Cebuanos" line. Good rhetoric that one, though it may clash with his duty to protect the province patrimony.

Still, how can Capitol officials be accused of dereliction of duty when they went to court and the court ruled against them? Capitol lawyers might even testify they have wobbly legal leg to stand on and no right is given, just an expectation.

Not the name

The city as possessor and presumptive owner has been paying Fuente's upkeep for ages now. What will Capitol do with it if it gets the title? It can't make money there, Fuente being outside the commerce of governors and mayors. It can't even change the Osmeña name: so much history in it.

Here's the thing. Those who see Fuente almost everyday don't give a whit which LGU holds the title. They want to see it improved though. Fuente deserves much better care than what it has been getting.

(paseares@gmail.com)
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