After over two weeks, the vice-gubernatorial seat remains vacant as Vice Governor Rene Relampagos went on an indefinite leave starting February 8, said Senior Provincial Board (PB) Member Victor Balite.
“Medyo nagkaguliyang g’yud ming mga Board Members kay wala man g’yud mi kahibalo tanan kung hain si Vice Gov karon,” he said.
According to Balite, he is not allowed to immediately assume as acting vice governor without an official designation from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) even if he is next in line for the vice-governorship as the highest-ranking PB member.
The DILG’s official designation 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.
Balite said that he needs to submit a letter of intent to the DILG to signify his willingness to take over the temporary vacancy, but he is unable to do so due to the lack of details on Relampagos’ absence.
“Although required ko na mo-submit ko og letter of intent ngadto sa DILG pero maglisod ko kay wa mag ko kahibaw g’yud og basin inig submit nako mo abot na pud siya kay wa ko kahibaw sa timeline na mo balik siya,” he said.
The PB, in a regular session on Thursday, passed a resolution giving authority to the legislative body’s presiding officer or secretary authority to sign documents and approve transactions while the Office of the Vice Governor remains vacant.
Starting February 8, Relampagos, who was then acting governor, designated Balite to take his place before he went on leave.
Balite’s tenure as acting governor however was only effective until the return of Governor Arthur Yap from his three-month suspension on February 18. Yap’s return relegated Balite to his elective post as PB member.
Earlier, Yap issued a letter to the PB asking the legislative body to hold a special session to discuss pressing issues including the coronavirus disease, African swine fever and “vacuum of leadership” in the PB due to “legal complications.”
The session pushed through but it was considered a regular session after the PB did not meet last Tuesday as the country observed the People Power Anniversary which is a public holiday. (R. Tutas)