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Ang Uwak Bal-an sa Putak

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Ang Uwak Bal-an sa Putak

Vigilio Clavel
By Virgilio Clavel

 

 

Part 1 of 2

 

The dispute over the legitimacy, if not legality, of the August 14 election of the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines [VLMP], Capiz Provincial Chapter, was already submitted for resolution by the Central Office of the Department of Interior & Local Government [DILG].

 

The DILG-Province maintains the non-recognition discourse of the August 14 VMLP election results. It is by the Ronnie Dadivas entertaining script on ‘dual representation’ of Jose Alba, duly elected vice mayor but is now serving as acting mayor of Mambusao. Clyne Deocampo, DILG provincial director, succumbed to another vice mayor’s opposition to Alba’s eligibility to vote. Thus, she postponed the election. As expected, other vice mayors belonging to the Liberal Party-Roxas Wing, joined in the fray for power.  

 

Nagamon ang uwak kay nakatuhak [The crow persists because it has pecked]. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton).  

 

Here is one juristic window, apt and effectual, which can resolve the dispute. Its premise presumes that the law is a neutral ground, in which rights need to be exercised without prejudice or abuse, and through which authority is to be imposed devoid of fear or favor.

 

Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC), the DILG is only given discretion and not a specific mandate to “extend technical assistance and secretariat services to the leagues of LGUs and federations of other elective local officials UPON REQUEST [Art. 216]. It could not ‘leisurely’ pontificate [see Art. 53, par 3-a] what is stipulated by signatories’ private functions or duties embodied in Art. XIV of the VLMP’s Constitution and By-Laws vis-à-vis Sec. 4[a] its Election Policy and Guidelines. To reiterate, the operative legal word is—“upon request.”

 

The DILG, in the purview of both the 1987 Administrative Code of the Philippines and the 1991 LG Code, has no authority, none so far, to act as chairman-arbiter of the VLMP election in the absence of 1) a subsisting Memorandum of Agreement [MOA] with VLMP, 2) and per proper request basis. Rule XXIX of the Code recognizes only the i) Liga ng mga Barangay, ii) League of Municipalities, the League of Cities, League of Provinces, iii) Pederasyon ng mga Sanggunian Kabataan, iv) and federation presidents of the city’s and municipalities’ sanggunian members who shall serve as ex-officio members of their respective provincial sanggunians. In Codal item provisions i, ii & iii cited in this paper, the representatives are all executive officers except in item iv who are sanggunian members but not vice mayors.

 

The Codal provision pertinent to vice mayors states in Art. 215-1 (IRR), that x x x vice mayors xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx, AS MAY BE CREATED BY LAW, may form their respective federations, subject to applicable provisions of this Rule. Note well that the Code speaks in directory fashion, and must recognize only certain legal predicates of a federation if it is created by a statute rather a private contract, including a Memorandum of Agreement or Und erstanding. What more, the same Code, the statute itself, delineates two League, separate for cities and municipalities. As to federation of vice mayors [the term federation used, preferred and distinguished by the Code], the initiative may come from them. The Federation of Vice Mayors therefore derives its legal authority from a private contractual relation only to be recognized by the Code as conforming to the Constitution and existing Philippine statutes.

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