Vice Governor Rene Relampagos on Tuesday assumed office as acting governor with Governor Arthur Yap serving a 90-day preventive suspension, while the vice-gubernatorial seat remained vacant.
“Automatic naman na,” said Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial director Johnjoan Mende on Relampagos’ succession.
The post temporarily left by Relampagos however remained vacant pending the official appointment of an acting vice governor by President Rodrigo Duterte through DILG Sec. Eduardo Año, Mende said, citing the department’s Administrative Order (AO) 15 Series of 2018.
According to Mende, the regional DILG office will have to report the vacancy to the agency’s head office in Manila so the President may officially appoint the acting vice governor.
AO 15 stipulates that the highest-ranking Sanggunian Panlalawigan (SP) member “shall be designated by the President through the SILG or the OIC DILG immediately upon the report of the concerned DILG Regional Office of the said vacancy.”
Meanwhile, the highest-ranking SP member which is Senior Board Member Victor Balite has been asked by the DILG to submit a letter of intent to fill in the vacancy which will be included in the central office-bound report.
“Ang next highest-ranking official ang mo-assume as acting vice governor, vice mayor or whatever the case may be,” Mende said on Wednesday. “Ako siyang [Balite] gitawagan just this morning kay I am about to make the report of vacancy, as soon as makuha nako tong letter of intent I will be reporting through our regional office.”
Mende expressed confidence that the Office of the Vice Governor would still be able to execute its functions even with the temporary vacancy, but noted that the DILG will try to expedite the designation process.
“Di pud angay langayon…I am hoping na naay ginabuhaton para mapaspas ang proseso. We are hoping, give and take, by next week siguro pwede mapagawas nato ang designation,” he said.
Previous temporary vacancies of the vice-gubernatorial post, briefly placed Balite and Board Member Ricky Masamayor at loggerheads with questions raised over the observance on the rule on succession.
The confusion arose when Masamayor acted as presiding officer of the SP during the absence of Relampagos and as “OIC vice governor” “twice in the past” as noted by Balite. (R. Tutas)