Socrates seeks clarification on status of Vice Mayor’s office

Socrates says she is confused whether she is allowed to use the budget of the Vice Mayor’s Office

Acting Vice Mayor Nancy Socrates has sought clarification from the city legal department on whether she can start hiring new personnel for the Office of the Vice Mayor or replace the co-terminus employees hired by detained Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III.

Socrates told reporters following Monday’s session of the Council she is in a dilemma on whether she is allowed to use the budget under the Vice Mayor’s Office to hire new employees.

Socrates said she was assuming that she can exercise the power to appoint, suspend, or dismiss employees since detained Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III already exceeded the 30-day period of temporary incapacity, as stated in Section 46 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

However, she added, an opinion from the Department of Interior and Local Government reaching the City Council informed them that the said provision is only applicable to mayor, and not to acting vice mayor.

“’Yon talaga ang gusto kong linawin dahil meron na rin tayong na-interview. Dumaan na sa Personnel Selection Board at umaasa rin na sana ma-appoint na sila,” she said.

Socrates also sought clarification on the employment status of Marcaida’s co-terminus employees.

 “Dahil siya (Marcaida) ba ay temporarily incapacitated, ano ang sitwasyon nila? Ang assumption natin ‘pag nawala ‘yong appointing officer, wala na rin ‘yong co-terminus employees automatically. Apparently, ‘yong co-terminus employees ni Vice Mayor Marcaida have not been terminated.”

City Budget Office’s Marivic Borja said the acting city vice mayor can only use the Vice Mayor’s Office maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) budget that funds the salary of job order employees, among other office expenses.

Since Socrates is on an acting position, her salary and the salary of her staff remain at the councilor’s budget.

As to Marcaida’s personal services budget for co-terminus employees, Borja added that they will be depending on the recommendation of the City Human Resource Management Office (CHRMO).

Assistant City Personnel Lourdes Salonga said Marcaida has yet to terminate his co-terminus employees and are still employed and required to report to office.

“Sa ngayon ‘yong mga na-hire niya (Marcaida), gano’n pa rin. Depende sa kanila kung mag-report sila. Magkakaroon lang ng basehan sa  DTR (Daily Time Record). Pero sa ngayon walang basehan ang HR na i-terminate sila dahil wala naman kaming document na nare-receive,” Salonga said.

The CHRMO official added that her office only depends on the documents recommending the termination or hiring of co-terminus employees being forwarded to them by the appointing office.

City General Services Officer Tiburcio Magay said the service vehicles are still under the possession of Vice Mayor Marcaida.  “We can write a demand letter to turn over the vehicle and give it to the acting vice mayor for her use,” Magay added.

Magay said Socrates can temporarily occupy the Vice Mayor’s Office.

 However, Socrates requested the CGSO to first do an inventory of the said office before she moves in “just so we won’t be responsible for the things we do not know of”.

Assistant City Legal Officer, Atty. Anna Fatima Chavez, said the City Legal Office will issue a legal opinion that would guide the City legislative, particularly the acting vice mayor whether she can exercise the power to hire or fire employees.

 

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