For the second time in less than a month, acting Vice Governor Victor Balite has been designated as the acting governor of the province.
Balite, who was elected as senior member of the Provincial Board, took over as Bohol’s chief executive starting Monday through a memorandum issued by acting Governor Rene Relampagos who has been out of the province for over three days for an official trip.
According to Balite, the memorandum did not specify when Relampagos would return.
“Way giingon. Ang iyang gibutang didto is until such time na mo balik siya then I will go back to my usual work as acting vice governor,” he said.
Prior to Balite’s designation, Relampagos named provincial legal officer Atty. Nilo Ahat as officer-in-charge (OIC) of the Office of the Governor for three days.
Balite however clarified that an elected official may designate any Capitol employee to temporarily sit as OIC of his office if he would only be absent for three days or less.
The official would then be mandated to observe the rule on succession of the Local Government Code if the absence exceeds three days.
“Sa dugay nakong basa-basa ana, nakasabot na g’yud ko na basta di lang palapason og three days pwede siya maka-designate sa OIC any person na naa sa Kapitolyo nagtrabaho, mao si Attorney Nilo iyang gi-designate,” said Balite.
Balite also noted that the memorandum for his designation did not specify why Relampagos was out of the province.
He said that the reason should have been specified for the benefit of the public.
“Mas maayo na mahibaw ang publiko in fairness sa tanan, in fairness pud kang sir Rene Relampagos,” he added.
In mid-December, Balite was also named acting governor due to Relampagos’ absence.
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. (R. Tutas)