Senior Provincial Board Member Dionisio Victor Balite of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan calls for the observance of the rule of succession in the assumption of office when a certain office becomes vacant, citing Department of Interior and Local Government and Supreme rulings.
In his privilege speech last week, he said: “With this Mr. Presiding Officer, may I then demand that a formal ruling from this August Body, in the form of a Resolution, be enacted as to what role does the Senior Board Member possesses insofar as succession in this August Chamber is concerned.”
This came after Balite was eased out of the way to presumably assume as the acting vice-governor while Vice-Gov. Rene Relampagos acted as governor as a result of Gov. Art Yap’s travel to China last week.
Instead, Relampagos issued Memorandum Order No. 57, series of 2019 dated October 14, 2019, designating BM Ricky Masamayor as officer-in-charge of the office of the vice-governor.
But Relampagos’ directive also pointed out a condition that such Masamayor’s designation as OIC “until such time that the President through the DILG or the OIC-DILG, have designated an acting Provincial Vice-Governor pursuant to DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2019-21.”
Masamayor reportedly took the reign in presiding over the regular session on October 15, 2019.
Copies of the said memorandum were furnished to Gov. Arthur C. Yap, SP Secretary Bonifacio Quirog, Jr., Provincial Accountant Joseth Celocia, Provincial Treasurer Eustaquio Socorin and Provincial Budget Officer Peter Ross Retutal for their information and guidance.
DILG Legal Opinion No. 22 s. 2012 dated March 7, 2012, penned by Jesus B. Doque IV, Director III rules that “Accordingly, the highest-ranking Sanggunian member shall now assume temporarily as Acting Vice-Mayor,” in the case Menzon vs. Petilla (G.R. No. 90762, May 20 1991), Balite stressed.
In that case, “the Supreme Court ruled that to obviate the dilemma resulting from an interregnum created by the temporary vacancy in the Office of the Vice-Governor, there is no provision of law governing the mode of succession in case of a temporary vacancy in the said office, the mode of succession for permanent vacancy in the Office of the Vice-Governor may be analogously applied.”
Based on this case, Balite said he should have been the OIC vice-governor while Relampagos was acting as governor in lieu of Yap.
Balite said “Mr. Presiding Officer, the law and the legal opinion that I aforementioned are very clear as the sun rises on the east insofar as the rule of succession in this very August Chamber is concerned.”
“I can even surely remember, without fear of contradiction, that during my first term as a legislator in this August Chamber, all the time when the Vice-Governor (his father ex-vice-governor Dionisio Balite) relinquished his position for whatever reason or reasons, automatically he minced no words in designating the Senior Board Member to perform the duties and functions of the Vice-Governor. But this time, it’s no more.
Thus, this leads to my query as to what is the difference on the treatment and application of the law and rules of the previous administration as against the current administration.
I remember an adage that goes this way and I quote, “The rule applies to all, otherwise none at all.” (rvo)