Cebu News

Labella rejects 2016 budget

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo/FPL - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City acting ma-yor Edgardo Labella has refused to act on the 2016 budget for the city, questioning the validity of the passage of the ordinance by the City Council.

 In his letter to acting vice mayor Nestor Archival Sr. dated December 29, Labella said the City Council failed to pass the budget ordinance which contains the P6.4 billion annual budget next year.

“This is to inform you that the undersigned cannot act on said ordinances because the same fail to meet the required number of votes specified under Article 107 paragraph (g) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Local Government Code of 1991…,” Labella said.

Article 107 paragraph (g) of the IRR of the Local Government Code of 1991 provides that, “no ordinance or resolution passed by the sanggunian in  a  regular or special session duly called for the purpose shall be valid unless approved by a majority of the members present, there being a quorum. Any ordinance or resolution authorizing or directing the payment of money or creating liability, shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of all the sanggunian members for its passage.”

Labella said since there are 18 members of the City Council, including him, who have been elected and qualified as members, the budget ordinance should have been passed by the affirmative vote of at least 10 members.

However, he said only nine members voted to approve the budget ordinance based on the records.

“Hence, the said ordinances regrettably failed to meet the required number of votes,” Labella said.

At least 12 members were present during the passage (through a vote of 9-3) of the annual budget on December 18.

“Due to the public interest involved, you are hereby enjoined to deli-berate/re-deliberate further, without delay, and comply with the requirements of Article 107 (g) of said IRR,” Labella told the members of the council.

City Councilor Margarita Osmeña, chairperson of the committee on budget and finance, said the City Council will wait for the official notice.

Osmeña said she is concerned about what budget will the city government use for 2016 now that Labella did not approve the budget ordinance.

“We will just wait for the official notice. In the meantime, what budget do we use starting tomorrow (January 1)?” she asked.

Councilor Sisinio Andales, on the other hand, said that Labella can question the number of votes but the 10-day period for him to act on the budget remains.

“Let him questioned the number of votes, however, the 10-day period will continue to run after which the annual (budget) ordinance is deemed approved,” Andales said.

City Budget Officer Marrieta Gumia said the city’s Local Finance Committee will meet on January 2 to decide on what budget to use starting the fiscal year considering the annual budget was not approved.

“Supposedly, January 1 effective ang Annual Budget, but ang consideration, na-approve na ba? If dili ma-approve, the City Council is given 90 days to discuss starting the first day of January,” Gumia said.

“Mag-discuss ang Local Finance Committee kun unsay gamiton nga kuwarta sa siyudad. Magsabot pa ana before January 4,” she added.

But, Archival insisted the “budget is in order.”

“Please check Toledo case where during the session majority is present and later before final approval, many councilors walk out leaving with only three councilors voted, the court resolve the budget was legal. Again, check or verify on this case, I think this is a similar situation,” he added.

Labella said the urgency of the City Council’s action is anchored on Section 323 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A. 7160).

It provides that “in case the sanggunian concerned fails to pass the ordinance authorizing the annual appropriations at the beginning of the ensuing fiscal year, it shall continue to hold sessions, without additional remuneration for its members, until such ordinance is approved, and no other business may be taken up during such sessions.”

“If the sanggunian still fails to enact such ordinance after 90 days from the beginning of the fiscal year, the ordinance authorizing the appropriations of the preceding year shall be deemed reenacted and shall remain in force and effect until the ordinance authorizing the proposed appropriations is passed for salaries and wages of existing positions, statutory and contractual obligations, and essential operating expenses authorized in the annual and supplemental budgets for the preceding year shall be deemed reenacted and disbursement of funds shall be in accordance therewith,” it added. (FREEMAN)














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