Senior Board Member Dionisio Victor Balite questioned the “mind-boggling” and erroneous designation of his older brother Dionisio Neil, an engineer and a non-politician, as acting vice governor of the province with the “physical incapacity” of Vice Governor Rene Relampagos.
Victor in a privilege speech delivered at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Tuesday said that the designation letter from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) was addressed and sent to his brother on November 28, as the legislator cast doubt on the possibility that it was an honest mistake or a clerical error.
“Where on earth did the DILG get the name Dionisio Neil A. Balite as being the 1st Ranking Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member of the province of Bohol?” said Victor, who is the highest-ranking Provincial Board (PB) member by garnering the most votes among his fellow legislators in the 2019 midterm elections.
“Was the DILG fed by wrong information by whom?” he added.
Balite as the the top PB member is supposed to be designated by the President through the DILG secretary as acting vice governor when there is a temporary vacancy in the Office of the Vice Governor (OVG), as stipulated in Adminstrative Order No. 15 Series of 2018.
According to DILG provincial director Johnjoan Mende, the designation letter did not go through his office and was directly mailed to the indicated recipient, as the agency’s regional office was merely furnished a copy of the correspondence.
Mende nonetheless said that he would make verifications to clarify the matter.
“Natinga ko ngano na Neil. Mag-verify sa ko,” he said. “I think ang intent naa man siguro kay wa may laing highest-ranking kagawad na Dionisio, pero pwede gud na nato e-correct.”
He also clarified that the designation was not in connection with the suspension of Governor Arthur Yap which temporarily placed Relamapagos as acting governor creating a vacancy in the OVG.
Mende said that the designation letter was in line with the sick leave of Relampagos taken two weeks ago. This was also stated in the designation letter itself which however did not indicate the date and duration of the leave of absence.
Meanwhile, Victor did not completely dismiss the incident as something done with “malice.”
“If ever it was just an honest-to-goodness mistake, then let it be,” he said. (R. Tutas)