Oliva removal traced to ‘House Speaker’

Oliva removal traced to ‘House Speaker’
REGAL OLIVA Mandaue PIO Facebook page

OUTGOING Mandaue City Treasurer Regal Oliva believes politics is the reason behind a National Government order to remove her from his post.

On Monday morning, July 8, 2024, Mandaue City Hall was the stage of a silent protest led by various government officials who were dressed in black to symbolize mourning and dissent.

The protest was directed against Oliva’s reassignment by the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) to another local government unit, a decision that has stirred unrest among the city’s administrative ranks.

Oliva, who has served as Mandaue’s treasurer for nine years, is awaiting deployment to Navotas City, although the exact date of the transfer remains uncertain.

In an interview with reporters on Monday, Oliva said she is now considering a foray into politics following her removal from Mandaue City.

“I’ve never been into politics, but now they’re dragging me into it. Maybe I’ll join the whole thing,” Oliva said, indicating her openness to the possibility.

Oliva has not yet received official communication regarding the exact date of her deployment but has been informed through calls from the BLGF executive director about her imminent transfer.

The Department of Finance (DOF) also contacted Oliva, prompting Mayor Jonas Cortes to immediately write the DOF on April 12 requesting a delay of her reassignment.

In June, the DOF reportedly informed Oliva that she would be the subject of a meeting focused on her removal.

Oliva hinted at aligning with Cortes, who has been a steadfast supporter during this period, if she decides to join politics.

“Mayor Jonas is the only one defending me. Why join the other side?” Oliva said.

Initially offered a position as municipal treasurer of Cebu, she requested a transfer to an equally significant city, resulting in the offer to transfer her to Navotas City, which is currently vacant along with Malabon City.

Despite having been interviewed by the mayor of Navotas and while expecting to start soon, Oliva is still awaiting the final directive from the DOF to confirm whether her deployment there will proceed.

“If it comes, I will be a good soldier in the government. I will not cause any hesitation to transfer and will ensure a smooth transition of power and functions with the city treasurer,” she said.

‘Politics’

Oliva emphasized the unusual nature of her reassignment, noting that her appointment as Mandaue City treasurer in 2015 was on a permanent capacity, sanctioned by the Office of the President through the DOF.

“If you’re removed, it should be for reasons, often at the mayor’s request. This situation is entirely different, as I am being transferred without the mayor’s request,” said Oliva.

She said there is a current pressure to the DOF regarding her transfer, originating from Office of the House Speaker.

However, Oliva did not name the said speaker.

“It’s politics. I’m not sure, and I don’t like to reveal who it is because I don’t have any proof,” said Oliva.

However, the only one holding the position of House Speaker is Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

Since January 2024, Oliva has been approached by several personalities in the treasury, inquiring if she intended to vacate her position in Mandaue.

Oliva said the rumors persisted and by March, a friend informed her that there were “political moves” to remove her, leaving Oliva puzzled as to the reasons behind it.

“My record in government service is clean. I don’t know the reason for this transfer,” she said.

In a statement on July 7, Cortes addressed speculations surrounding Oliva’s transfer and categorically denied that any blame should fall on national officials.

He said his only intention was to request that Oliva be allowed to remain as City Treasurer of Mandaue.

“I urge everyone to focus on the true issues at hand and work together for the betterment of Mandaue City. Our priority should always be the welfare and progress of our beloved city and its people,” Cortes said.

City Administrator Jamaal James Calipayan also dismissed the notion of blaming national officials for Oliva’s transfer, describing such claims as “funny and overreaching.”

He said there was no specific individual being accused, merely an acknowledgment that there are moves to transfer Oliva.

Calipayan lauded Oliva’s contributions to Mandaue City, highlighting that in 2022, the City received the most business-friendly award for its category of highly urbanized cities outside the National Capital Region from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“That’s a significant achievement, reflecting unprecedented business confidence in Mandaue City,” said Calipayan.

He noted that prior to Cortes’s tenure, there were few businesses in Mandaue. However, under Cortes and with Oliva’s expertise, the number of businesses surged, with nearly 20,000 taxpayers even after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The city’s business tax revenues have also reached unprecedented heights, surpassing one billion pesos mid-year.

Calipayan attributed this success to the “excellent working relationship” between the city administration and the city treasurer, which has inspired confidence among business owners and taxpayers.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without our good working relationship with our city treasurer and the confidence we’ve inspired in our business community,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

He said the employees believe retaining Oliva is crucial for the city’s welfare. / CAV with Dana Gracielle Quirante and Stephen Joseph Enrile, UP Tacloban Interns

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