Labella’s first day: City Hall workers reminded to focus on job

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/JMD (The Freeman) - December 14, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - On his first day as acting Cebu City mayor, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella enjoined all the City Hall employees to do their job and not be disturbed by the “political skirmishes.”

In a press conference yesterday, Labella said the suspension of Mayor Michael Rama is “saddening” for the City Hall but should not stop them from giving good services to the public.

“I met all the department heads immediately after the flag ceremony. I would just continue what has been their normal routine unless there are problems that may arise. (I hope to) continue the programs and projects of the mayor and of course, that they would be cooperative with one another,” Labella said.

Rama has been placed under preventive suspension for 60 days, pending the investigation of the administrative complaint filed by Labangon Barangay Captain Victor Buendia after the mayor ordered the demolition of a center island structure in his barangay.

At the flag ceremony yesterday, Labella also told the employees that he is just a “caretaker” of the position.

“I reminded them that I am just a caretaker. We have a mayor that has been elected by sovereign will of the people of the City of Cebu. That we continue to do our job as we do good and be good all the time while performing our job, not to be disturbed by all of these political skirmishes,” he said.Labella said the position is not new to him anymore since he usually sits as the acting mayor when Rama is out on an official international trip.

He shared that the longest time he has acted as the mayor of the city was when Rama left the country for three weeks for personal trip.

Labella assured he will continue to discharge his duties based on the mandate given to him and guided by the provision of the Constitution that a “public office is a public trust.”

“Mao g’yod na ang importante. That public officials shall remain accountable to the people, serve them with utmost fidelity, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. So, if you have that in mind, I don’t think it would be difficult. That is always my guiding formula in the performance of my function, be it vice mayor or acting mayor,” he said.

Department of the Interior and Local Government city director Danilo Almendras said Labella can function all the duties of the mayor unless there is a temporary restraining order secured by the suspended Rama.

“As acting mayor, he can perform the duties and functions of the mayor. Although it is temporary, he can perform all the duties maskin ang pag-appoint and pag-terminate mabuhat niya kay klaro man kaayo nga ang absence ni mayor mo-exceed og 30 days kay 60 days ang iyang preventive suspension,” Almendras said, although clarifying that Rama is still the mayor.

On who will take over Labella’s post as an acting vice mayor, Labella said he will first inquire from the DILG on the matter since the suspension is just temporary.

“I have first to consult with the DILG because this is just in an acting capacity and this is just temporary matter. I have first to ask the DILG to guide us,” Labella said.

He said he does not find it necessary to occupy the Office of the Mayor while he is the acting mayor.

“You can just imagine that moving everything from one office. So I hope that would also be the sentiment of the acting vice mayor, Councilor Nestor Archival. I hope that would be his sentiment,” he said.

Archival, for his part, separately said he has not received an order from the DILG yet.

“I do not know if it goes without saying,” Archival said.

After verifying the result of the May 2013 elections, DILG-7 director Rene Burdeos advised Archival to assume the position as acting vice mayor with the suspension of Rama.

Burdeos said an order from DILG is no longer needed for Archival to assume the position since it happens by operation of law.  (FREEMAN)


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