Acting City Vice Mayor Nancy Socrates has asked the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to clarify once and for all its position on the vice mayoralty post of Puerto Princesa City.
Socrates, who has decided to assume the post in an acting capacity following Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida’s decision to vacate the seat and take oath as mayor, said she is still waiting for the DILG’s response to her letter seeking clarification.
Socrates said she wrote the DILG for guidance following her receipt of a memorandum from the department stating that both Marcaida’s oath taking as mayor and her assumption as acting vice mayor was “premature”.
“Consequently, the Central Office initially finds the taking of oath of Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida and the consequent assumption of Hon. Maria Nancy M. Socrates, the 1st ranking sangguniang panglungsod member, premature,” the memorandum dated August 25 and signed by Undersecretary Austere Panadero stated.
Socrates, who earlier said she had to assume the vice mayor’s post even on an acting capacity, said she wanted to have a clear guidance from the DILG.
“I need to know how should I go exactly, we cannot go by feelings. The majority floor leader says I should continue to sign documents on behalf of the vice mayor. However, being that the order says it’s premature, how do I act now,” Socrates told City councilors during the Council’s session on Monday.
Vice Mayor Marcaida had declared he will no longer perform the office’s regular duties after taking an oath of office as city mayor before a local judge last August 10.
As the first ranked city councilor, Socrates decided to assume the vice mayoralty post, saying she needed to do it to ensure continuity of city legislative’s services and operations.
Socrates, however, disclosed that she has become “hesitant” to continue functioning as acting vice mayor after receiving the DILG memorandum.
“The documents that I signed, the duties that I performed as acting [vice mayor], how do we see that? Does everything count? Will everything be honored?” Socrates said.
Assistant City Legal Officer Ana Fatima Chavez advised Socrates to continue performing as acting vice mayor.
Chavez argued that Socrates’ actions “are done in good faith,” and hence is not a violation of the law.
Chavez added that the DILG memo was crafted before Marcaida’s arrest for possession of illegal drugs and firearms.
“So what they (DILG central office) really had in mind probably was that vice mayor (Marcaida) would immediately return to his post as per the directive of the DILG,” she said.
City DILG Director Rey Maranan did not give a categorical answer to Socrates’ question, saying his position is to reiterate whatever documents and instructions from the DILG central office.
Maranan, however, believes Socrates, backed by the City Legal Office and other legal advisers, is “in a best position” to decide.
The City DILG director added that they will wait for the DILG central office’s response to Socrates’ recent clarificatory letter articulating the turn of events in the city and her concerns.