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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The brewing conflict between the local chief executive and the vice mayor continues to escalate after Mayor Darwin C. Estrañero filed charges of grave abuse of authority and violation of the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act against Vice Mayor Bernard Glenn Daoas for refusing to affix his signature to duly approved resolutions and ordinances that stalled the implementation of vital projects and delayed the delivery of basic services to the people in the city.
In his 5-page sworn affidavit stamped received by the Office of the Ombudsman, the mayor stated that the vice mayor’s inaction on the approved resolutions and ordinances constitute delay and dereliction of duty and neglect of his duties which are considered criminal in nature and violation of anti-graft regulations promulgated for the said purpose.
He added that the vice mayor’s act of refusing to perform his duty and abusing his authority have caused grave prejudice to the people of the city since the duly approved resolutions and ordinances that were approved by the local legislative body are required for the city government to implement its plans and programs.
Part of the supplemental budget that was passed by the council and was not signed by the vice mayor include that the programs contained in the ordinance are urgently needed for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) responses of the city as the same involves urgently needed medicines and equipment.
According to the complaint, Vice Mayor Daoas has been allegedly illegally keeping the official copies of resolutions and ordinances duly approved by the city council and has refused to perform his ministerial function of signing and releasing said copies and it took him months to release the approved resolutions and ordinances and it was only on November 10, 2020 that some were transmitted by the Sanggunian Secretary to the Office of the City Mayor.
The alderman stipulated that even the Department of the Interior and Local government (DILG) already issued several legal opinions in cases with similar circumstances. One of it is Legal Opinion No. 66, series of 2019 which stated that the presiding officer referring to the vice mayor does not have the authority to determine for himself the priority of the approval of a particular legislative measure as his function is purely mechanical act of seeing to it that the minutes is approved by the numerical majority of the Sanggunian, otherwise, the majority of the Sanggunian can be held captive by the whims of the presiding officer which obviously runs counter to the basic tenet that majority rules such that the presiding officer cannot, in the pretext of claiming to be representing in behalf of the Sanggunian, substitute his judgement for that of the majority of the Sanggunian.
Estrañero pointed out that there is nothing in the Local government Code or the Internal Rules of Procedure of the city council that gives the vice mayor the power and discretion to withhold and keep in his possession approved resolutions and ordinances.
Further, he asserted that the signing and subsequent release of approved resolutions and ordinances are purely ministerial on the part of the vice mayor and his act of withholding the same and refusing to release the official and signed copies constitute unlawful dereliction of his duty and abuse of his authority.
He emphasized that the vice mayor has no legal right or justification for allegedly delaying the release of the resolutions and ordinances even if he had already released them after undue delay as the damage has been done and the crime has been committed.
On June 1, 2020, the council passed Resolution No. 071, series of 2020 authorizing the city government of Tabuk to enter into contracts with certain advisers or consultants in the implementation of various programs and activities of the city while on August 26, 2020, the council also passed Appropriation Ordinance No. 004, series of 2020 approving Supplemental Budget No. 03, series of 2020 in the amount of P27.1 million.
Moreover, on September 7, 2020, the council passed Resolution No. 129, series of 2020 authorizing the City Mayor to negotiate and sign an agreement with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for a stand by letter of credit and on September 14, 2020, the council passed Ordinance No. 005, series of 2020 approving Supplemental budget No. 04, series of 2020 in the amount of P17.32 million.
However, the City Mayor admitted that none of the above resolutions and ordinances was promptly forwarded to his office until months later that caused serious delays in the implementation of the city’s anti-COVID response programs among other basic services supposedly delivered to the people.
On September 29, 2020, he sent a letter to the Sanggunian Secretary requesting for copies of the approved resolutions and ordinances but On October 1, 2020, the secretary responded informing him that one of the requested resolutions and ordinances could be furnished to complainant as the same had not been signed by the vice mayor despite having been presented to him for his signature.
On October 7, 2020 Vice Mayor Dao-as issued Memorandum Order No. 2020-84 to the Sanggunain Secretary copy furnished to all offices of the city government instructing that all incoming communications requiring legislative action shall first pass through his office.
On the basis of the aforesaid order, Estrañero stipulated that the Sanggunian Secretary has refused to issue certified copies of the approved resolutions and ordinances despite several letters sent to him on the said matter.
He emphasized that ever since the resolutions and ordinances were given to him months ago, the vice mayor had failed and refused to sign and release said documents thereby practically holding hostage the funds and operations of the city and that his illegal acts has caused enormous damages to the city, especially its promote response to the pandemic and other basic services to the people of the city.
On November 9, 2020, the vice mayor admitted during the council meeting that the approved resolutions and ordinances were with him. By HENT