DILG slams SP majority for violations of LGC

By March 12, 2023Headlines


THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) sustained Vice Mayor and Sangguniang Panlungsod presiding officer Bryan Kua’s decision when the later did not adjourn the regular session on February 7 right away despite the motion to adjourn by the majority while Dagupan City Mayor Belen Fernandez was addressing the SP.

Worse for the majority, the DILG also ruled that the deletion of the entire minutes of the February 7 session was a violation of the Local Government Code (LGC).

These were among the salient points raised by the DILG  in its letter reply to VM Kua and the five members of the SP minority bloc’s February 21, 2023, read by Councilor Michel Fernandez before the SP during its March 7 regular session.

The DILG letter reply was signed by OIC Regional Director Agnes de Leon thru DILG Provincial Director Virgilio Sison, and copy furnished DILG City Director Romarie Soriano.

On the adjournment issue, DILG said: “Even if the members have already adopted a ‘motion to adjourn’,  if there are any important announcements that necessitate the meeting (session) to continue, the Chair may defer such an announcement. Thus, the members have to wait for the final declaration by the Chair to make such adjournment.”

Recall that when motion to adjourn was made by Councilor Redford Erfe-Mejia at the end of his rebuttal to the speech of Mayor Fernandez, Councilor Michael Fernandez promptly objected.

When Fernandez was allowed to speak and explain his objection, the majority councilors walked out of the session hall.

The DILG said that when used as a privileged motion, the motion to adjourn is not debatable but “…  no motion to adjourn should be made if someone has the floor, whether or not he or she is speaking”.

“Applying the foregoing principles to your (Kua’s) query, this level believes that the non-adjournment by the Presiding Officer is proper.”

On the majority’s motion on February 14, that the entire minutes of the February 7 SP session be deleted, DILG wrote: “…minutes of the Sanggunian’s regular session cannot be deleted from the Sanggunian’s records by a motion of its members as it undermines the requirements in the LGC.”

DILG cited the case of Mayor Oscar de los Reyes vs. Sandiganbayan in which the Supreme Court ruled: “Thus, the Court accords full recognition to the minutes as the official repository of what actually transpires in every proceeding. It has happened that the minutes may be corrected to effect the true account of a proceeding, thus giving the Court more reason to accord them great weight for such subsequent corrections, if, is made precisely to preserve the accuracy of the record.”

The DILG also ruled on following issues raised by Vice Mayor Kua:

1). Was it proper for the committee on finance to schedule committee hearings on the same period as the schedule for regular sessions? Is it proper that the discussions on the proposed Annual budget during the regular session yield to committee hearings?

DILG: “Common sense dictates that it should not be held concurrently with the scheduled regular session of the Sanggunian, which has one and the same members or participants… the conduct of a series of committee hearings relative to the passage of the annual budget is not mandatory under Section 323 of the Local Government Code.”

2). Is it mandatory that the proposed AIP and the Annual Budget be included in the agenda (under Business of the Day) until the same are approved?

DILG: “ Section 323 of the LGC is clear that if the Sanggunian concerned fails to pass the appropriations ordinance, “it shall continue to hold sessions until the ordinance is approved, and no other businesses may be taken up during sessions”.

3). Can provisions of Sangguniang Panlungsod IRP supersede the provisions of the Local Government Code?

DILG: “DILG Legal Opinion No. 50, S, 2005 ruled – Adopted Rules come only as 4th source of parliamentary procedure… while the sanggunian may adopt its own IRP, the same however, should not be repugnant to Judicial Decisions, the Local Government Code, and the 1987 Constitution considering that in the hierarchy, the latter sources enjoy higher priority,” (Leonardo Micua)

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