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DILG upholds Sacueza as Acting Mayor

BATO, Camarines Sur—“It is only proper that [Alvin] Sacueza should still be recognized as the Acting Mayor of Bato, Camarines Sur,” opined Austere A. Panadero, Undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Alvin Sacueza
This was in response to the query of DILG Camarines Sur Provincial Director Arnel Renato L. Madrideo who requested for administrative guidance and legal opinion on the issuance of a certification to Domingo L. Zorilla, the first ranking member of the Sangguniang Bayan as Acting Mayor of Bato, Camarines Sur.

Madrideo sought Panadero’s opinion to put an end to the confusion and chaos in this town that began when the Ombudsman suspended Mayor Jeanette O.R. Bernaldez for six months and one day.

The Ombudsman in its resolution dated January 28, 2015 said that Bernaldez violated Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019 and was guilty of the administrative charge of Oppression against Dr. Annelyn V. Mendoza, the Municipal Health Officer of this town.

Upon receipt of the endorsement letter signed by Asryman T. Rafanan, the Assistant Ombudsman the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued a Memorandum dated May 15, 2015 directing the immediate implementation of the aforesaid Ombudsman Joint Resolution against Bernaldez.

On May 22, 2015, however, the DILG Central Office received copies of an urgent motion to held in abeyance the execution of the decision that Bernaldez filed on May 19.

Also, the said office received the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition filed also by the respondent before the Court of Appeals on May 15, 2015.

But the Court of Appeals on June 18, 2015 dismissed the said petition for Certiorari and Prohibition filed by Bernaldez.

Vice Mayor Sacueza was installed by the DILG as the Acting Mayor of this town, pursuant to the order of the Ombudsman.

Meanwhile, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur approved a joint decision of the Special Committee on Aministrative cases dated June 18, recommending for the imposition of a penalty of suspension each for two administrative cases against Sacueza.

In a memorandum signed by Gov. Miguel Luis R. Villafuerte on June 22, the said suspension penalty against Sacueza was implemented.

As a result of the suspension of Bernaldez by the Ombudsman, and the suspension by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to Acting Vice Mayor Sacueza, first ranking Sangguniang Bayan Member Domingo L. Zorilla assumed office as the Acting Mayor.

Acting Mayor Zorilla went to the Office of Camarines Sur DILG Provincial Director Arnel Renato L. Madrideo asking the said office to issue a certification from his that he is the Acting Mayor of this town.

Madrideo on the other hand, also forwarded to the Central Office of the DILG  a copy of the Notice of Appeal or Appeal Memorandum filed by Sacueza before the Office of the President in relation to Administrative Case Numbers 08-2014 and 09-2014.

In response to the said letter of Madrideo, Undersecretary Panadero stressed that the Department’s position as to the effect of the seasonable filing of a Notice of Appeal by the respondent on the decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to the Office of the President has already been settled.

In DILG Legal Opinion No. 18, series of 2014 addressed to Mayor Diosdago G. Palasique of Isulan, Sultan Kudara where the Department opined in this wise:

“Section 9 of Administrative Order No. 22 dated 11 October 2011 provides and we quote:
SECTION  9. Stay of execution. The execution of the decisioin/resolution/order appealed from is stayed upon the filing of the Notice of Appeal within the period prescribed herein.

As early as November 2012, the Department, in a case involving a different local elective official yet seminal issues concern, had already requested the opinion of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the issue. In an opinion dated 18 November 2012, the DOJ, in interpreting Sec 9 of AO 22, series of 2011, opined that:

Basic is the rule in statutory interpretation that when the law is clear, plain and free from ambiguity, it must be given its literal meaning without attempted interpretation.

Evidently, the execution of the decision/resolution/order issued by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on appeal to the Office of the President is stayed upon the filing of the Notice of Appeal within the prescribed period.

In other words, the decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on appeal to the Office of the President is deferred during the pendency of appeal as it may deem just and reasonable.”

Meanwhile, the letter memorandum of Panadero reads: “While it may be true that Vice Mayor Sacueza, who is the Acting Mayor of Bato, Camarines Sur, was meted the penalty of 3-months suspension in each of the two (2) administrative cases filed against him before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, he has seasonably filed a Notice of Appeal/Appeal Memorandum before the Office of the President. Sacueza’s seasonable filing of the Notice of Appeal/Appeal Memorandum to the Decision of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur in Adm. Case Nos. 08-2014 and 09-2014, in effect, stay the implementation of said Decision appealed from.”

Thus, it is only proper that Sacueza should still be recognized as the Acting Mayor of Bato, Camarines Sur, Panadero said. — BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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