Panglao Mayor Boy Arcay has denied imposing a gag order on municipal government employees through a memorandum order as alleged by councilors of the town.
Arcay, in an interview over station dyRD on Wednesday, said the memorandum being challenged by the municipal legislators does not prohibit municipal personnel from speaking publicly.
He explained that the order only requires them to ask permission from his office first at least seven days before they are to attend conferences, meetings or other speaking engagements such as sessions of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB).
According to Arcay, the measure was intended to “protect” municipal workers who have complained of being scolded during SB sessions and of being interrupted from their work due to unrestricted calls to appear before the legislative body.
“Daghan nang reklamo na tawgan sila unya nig abot didto [SB] kasab-an ra unya mo report sa akong opisina na kanunay tawagon unya wa na silay mahimo kay usahay sa usa ka buntag ika tulo sila tawga dili ko makahimo sa akong mga ipa-trabaho,” said Arcay.
The chief executive particularly accused Councilor Dennis Hora of scolding department heads of the local government unit.
Hora was among those who have called out Arcay to withdraw the memorandum order for having hampered the work of the municipal legislature.
The legislator did not deny reprimanding a municipal employee but said that it was against advisors of the mayor, not a head of office.
“Nainit akong ulo kay tanang pangutana kanunay nilang e-refer sa past administration. Past administration kapunay ilang rason nganong wa nila ma perform ang supposed to be ilang bulohaton karong higayuna,” said Hora.
The councilor then apologized to those he had reprimanded, adding that the was “angry at the act,” not at the person.
Previously, Hora said Arcay was “ill-advised” for issuing the order without citing any legal basis which authorized him to impose the restriction.
The councilor, who is a lawyer, also took notice of the memorandum’s “vagueness” particularly on the penalty for violating the new policy.
In the memorandum, Arcay warned that those who will violate the order will be “dealt with accordingly.”
“Unsa may pasabot ani? Iyang presohon or iya bang taktakon. It is very vague. Sa law, kaning mga ngani na klaseng circulars or bisa’g ordinances na vague or way klaro are frowned upon. Dili gyud ni maayo kay wa may parameters,” said Hora.
Councilor JR Rodriguez, an known ally of Arcay, said the policy is counterproductive and will cause a slowdown in the SB’s execution of its functions.
“This is going to make our work more difficult. We have to set meetings and if possible it should be within 24 hours. But now, we have to wait seven days if we strictly follow that memorandum,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez noted that after complaints against the order were raised, the mayor’s office agreed to cut short the seven-day requirement.
This further prompted councilors to question the new policy.
“When we were noisy about it, sabi nila na may exception naman daw. Hindi kailangan seven days, pwede naman e-rush. So if that’s the case, why even have that memorandum in place if you are going to break it yourself,” he added. (A. Doydora)