MEMBERS of Iloilo City Council want their former colleague Lyndon Acap to fill in the vacancy left by former councilor now Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon.
During their regular session on Nov 28, 2017, the councilors unanimously voted in favor of the resolution sponsored by Councilor R Leone Gerochi endorsing Acap as Ganzon’s replacement.
Gerochi said Acap is qualified fill in the vacancy because he has been a Liberal Party (LP) member since 2010.
Gerochi is the sole LP member in the council as the majority has transferred to the ruling PDP Laban in September 2017 while Councilors Joshua Alim and Plaridel Nava remained with the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Gerochi said he already sought the counsel of LP Senators Franklin Drilon and Francis Pangilinan, who advised him to secure all the requirements for Acap’s appointment.
According to Section 45(b) of the Local Government Code, “only the nominee of the political party under which the Sanggunian member concerned had been elected and whose elevation to the position next higher in rank created the last vacancy in the Sanggunian shall be appointed…”
“The appointee shall come from the same political party as that of the Sanggunian member who caused the vacancy and shall serve the unexpired term of the vacant office,” it added.
Gerochi cited the same provision and the opinion of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Iloilo City Director Ferdinand Panes in defending his resolution.
Ganzon ran under LP in May 2016. He later transferred to PDP Laban and took his oath before President Rodrigo Duterte.
But Ganzon said he is not convinced by Gerochi’s stand and claimed his entitlement: “The fact I caused the vacancy, so for me it necessarily follows that the one who caused that vacancy has the right to recommend”.
The vacancy was created after then vice mayor Jose Espinosa III replaced former mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog on Oct 30, 2017.
Ganzon replaced Espinosa as vice mayor being the No. 1 councilor in the 2016 elections.
Ganzon suggested that each councilor should be entitled to one nomination, and “Let the President choose.”
He also suggested deferring the decision on the city council vacancy to the first week of January 2018 as “the matter needs serious thinking.”
But Gerochi, Nava and Alim think otherwise.
“It is very clear in the Local Government Code. There are only two LP members left. We have to give it to them. We have no choice because it is stated in the law,” Nava said.
Nava reiterated the LGC’s rules on succession that only Ganzon’s party at the time of his candidacy can nominate the replacement, thus, “there will be no other option on the part of the President to appoint a person who is nominated by the LP.”
Nava added that the role of SP is also clear: “The Sanggunian will only endorse if the official who created the vacancy has no political party.”
He said the council must not delay the endorsement to immediately fill up the vacuum left by Ganzon.
Alim moved to divide the house, forcing Ganzon to respect the decision of the majority.
Acap, who is presently working under the Office of the Mayor, is thankful for the nomination.
If his nomination will be approved by the President, Acap looks forward to head the SP Committee on Police Matters to help address peace and order concerns in the city, particularly illegal drugs.
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