Garcia designates official to sign docs, Rama twits move

CEBU. Cebu City Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia.
CEBU. Cebu City Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia.Photo by Arkeen Larisma

CEBU City Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia’s decision to grant a City Hall executive the authority to sign documents, including procurement requests, has raised the eyebrows of suspended Mayor Michael Rama.

Garcia authorized City Assistant Administrator Mary Rose Lubino to sign several official documents, including procurement requests and cash aids, on his behalf to provide “more efficient, effective, and faster service.” But for Rama, he is questioning whether or not the move is legal.

Garcia stressed in an interview on Monday, June 24, that the authority he granted Lubino has limitations.

He said he felt the need to designate some of the tasks because of the “voluminous” records that his office receives every day.

Earlier, the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the late mayor Mayor Edgardo Labella’s delegation of authority to former city administrator Floro Casas Jr. in 2020, stating that this may create a risk—the City Government could enter into transactions without the knowledge of the local chief executive.

The COA, on the said audit report, said delegation like such runs contrary to Section 20 of the Republic Act 3857, or the Revised Charter of the City of Cebu, which states that one of the functions of the mayor is “to represent the city in all its business matters and sign in its behalf all its bonds, contracts, and obligations made in accordance with the laws or ordinances.”

Garcia stressed, “It’s not the same as with mayor Labella which was a blanket authority. This one, this has limitations...I’m doing this so service will be more efficient, more effective. Public service cannot wait.”

The acting mayor said he delegated the task to Lubino since his appointed Acting Administrator Christine Joyce Batucan is not yet a permanent employee.

Rama, in an interview on Monday, said he would discuss this development with his lawyers, as he questioned whether Garcia’s move was legal or not.

If it’s not, Rama said he will take action.

Rama also said he was surprised by the changes being made in the City Hall.

“On my side, we have to remember, this is my administration, this is not his administration,” said Rama.

“Kuyawa anang memoranduma (That memorandum is dangerous),” he said.

Rama also hit the Council’s decision, questioning if the councilors have read the memorandum.

“Gibasa nila? (Did they read?) Mao bitaw ng daghan na kaayo, there have been records previously (that) the Council, without reading, they approved,” he said.

In Garcia’s memorandum, which was approved by the Cebu City Council during its regular session on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, stated that Lubino was authorized to sign some transactions of the City.

“In the exigency of and in the provision of the best public, you are hereby granted the authority to sign for and on behalf of the undersigned, the following documents including disbursement vouchers, agency purchase requests, and such other official documents, related thereof, subject to the scope, limitations, conditions, and arrangements herein stipulated,” said a portion of Garcia’s memorandum addressed to Lubino.

Among the documents Lubino are authorized to sign are: Obligation requests (OBRs), disbursement voucher, agency procurement requests, up to a maximum of P10 million; OBRs and disbursement voucher for payment of utilities and cash advances of duly designated special disbursing officers duly authorized by the mayor regardless of the amount;

Payrolls and disbursement vouchers for financial assistance including for senior citizens, persons with disability (PWDs), burial, stimulus, and other assistance provided by the City, honoraria for community health workers, all barangay workers, national government allowances, and others as authorized by the city mayor; Payroll for salaries, wages, and benefits including job orders and the like regardless of amount;

Allotment Release Order (ARO) issued by the City budget officer;

Authority to travel or attend official business for less than 10 days within the country and/or abroad; Approve/Disapprove the demolition permit; Notice of salary adjustment;

All checks and debit memos, drawn against the Cebu City Government Accounts deposited in various depository banks;

All checks for the payment of various claims and obligations of the Cebu City Government;

Procurement-related transactions from the Bids and Awards Committee amounting to not more than P5 million including BAC Resolution, abract of canvass, notice of award, purchase orders, notice to proceed, program of works and estimates, approved budget contract, contract, contract of service, variation orders, extension orders, resume orders, suspension orders, and drawings/plans;

Financial transaction requiring the signature of the City Administrator; and

Approve office of the Building Official NBC form No. B-07 (Sign Permit).

New budget officer

Meanwhile, Garcia has also designated Roseny Reyes as the city budget officer after the City Council rejected the re-application of lawyer Jerone Castillo.

In a press conference on Monday, Garcia said he had already signed the designation of the new budget officer.

“Ang city budget officer now is ma’am (Roseny) Tata Reyes and she is already acting as (budget officer),” Garcia said.

Garcia said he received a letter from the Human Resource and Development Office (HRDO), informing him that Castillo’s application for regularization was rejected by the Cebu City Council.

“The City Council rejected the concurrence of his appointment,” he said.

Garcia also said HRDO noted that Castillo can no longer act as a budget officer following the rejection of his application.

Garcia, however, instructed the HRDO to ask for the opinion of the Civil Service Commission regarding the matter.

“They are the experts when it comes to employees’ benefits, employees’ status, etc.,” Garcia said.

Garcia said he would wait for the opinion of the CSC, but in the meantime, Reyes will serve as the budget officer.

Reyes used to work as the assistant budget officer prior to her designation as budget officer.

SunStar Cebu tried to obtain comments from Castillo, through text messages, but to no avail. / With reports from AML


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