The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has officially designated Senior Board Member Dionisio Victor Balite as the acting vice governor of Bohol, after weeks of vacancy in the Office of the Vice Governor and confusion on who will fill up the post.
DILG Sec. Eduardo Año, in a letter dated December 11, 2019, named Balite as acting vice governor after the vacancy was created when Vice Governor Rene Relampagos was earlier designated as acting governor.
Balite confirmed to the Chronicle that the letter was received by his staff on Monday noon.
He is next in line for the vice-governorship as the highest-ranking Provincial Board (PB) member by way of garnering the most votes among his fellow provincial legislators in the 2019 midterm elections.
The DILG’s official designation however is needed for a provincial, city or municipal sangunian member to take over as vice governor or vice mayor at an acting capacity as stipulated in Administrative Order 15 Series of 2018.
Copies of the designation letter from the DILG were also furnished to the agency’s regional director Leocadio Trovela and Relampagos.
Meanwhile, Relampagos remained out of the province for an official trip.
Balite in turn was elevated as the acting governor through a designation made by Relampagos when he left last week.
The entire process was set in motion after the Sandiganbayan ordered the 90-day mandatory suspension of Governor Arthur Yap which stemmed from a case filed against him and several others for alleged involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.
Section 13 of Republic Act 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, mandates the suspension of a public official from office pending prosecution for any offense involving public funds or property or fraud on the government.
Yap’s suspension order was served by the DILG on November 19, rendering his office vacant until the end of his suspension on February 17, 2020.
Earlier this month, confusion erupted after the DILG erroneously designated Balite’s older brother Dionisio Neil, an engineer and a non-government official, as acting vice governor of the province with Relampagos’ absence.
DILG provincial director Johnjoan Mende clarified that the earlier designation was not in connection with the suspension of Yap, but admitted nonetheless that the letter was erroneous.
Mende said that the designation letter was in line with the sick leave of Relampagos taken over two weeks ago, not with Yap’s three-month suspension. (RT)