To avoid a subsequent controversy on the hiring power of the province’s top officials, Provincial Board (PB) Member Grecilda “Gigi” Sanchez-Zaballero proposed an ordinance that would affirm the power of the vice governor to appoint employees of the legislative body.
The ordinance was passed on first reading last Monday, August 12.
Zaballero said the three underlying reas
ons behind the proposed ordinance are: to assert and uphold the power of the vice governor to appoint employees under the legislative department; to preserve and protect the independence of the legislative body; and to prevent and avoid the severe effect of personal and political squabbles of the governor and vice governor to the employees.”
Daughter of the late Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez, Zaballero reasoned that the past administration misinterpreted the provisions of the local government code which delineated the power of the vice governor to hire employees of the SangguniangPanlalawigan (SP).
Section 466 of Republic Act No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991 states that, “The vice governor shall: sub
ject to civil service law, rules and regulations, appoints all officials and employees of the SangguniangPanlalawigan except those whose manner of appointment is specifically provided in this Code.”
The vice governor’spower to hire employees in his office and the SP was categorically upheld by the Supreme Court in a lone and only case of Atienza vs. Villarosa, G.R. No. 161081, May 10, 2005.
Zaballero said the SC’s decision leaves no room for ambiguity and has closed the issue as to who has the authority to appoint employees of the SP. “A decision which has become an integral part of the law and jurisprudence of the land must be accorded utmost obedience and respect,” she said.
In 2010, then Vice Governor Greg Sanchez’ rift with former Governor Gwendolyn Garcia led to a slashed budget of the legislative department,rendering the vice governor powerless.Garcia proceeded to hire the contractual employees of the vice governor’s office and the SP. Sanchez filed an administrative case against Garcia for usurpation of authority, which resulted to Garcia’s six-month suspension from December 2012 to June 2013.
In the proposed ordinance, section two defines the SP officials as those elected regular members of the SP as well as those ex-officio members. It also clarifies that SP employees include the staff of the vice governor, the SP Secretariat, the PB members, and other employees of the provincial government whose salaries and wages are taken from the appropriation allocated for the SP regardless of their status whether or not they are assigned to or stationed at offices other than those under the SP. (Xerxes Alkuino)