Mayor vetoes SRP ordinance but is it valid?By Doris C. Bongcac
Cebu Daily News
CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has issued a veto against the ordinance that would bar him from selling any lot in the South Road Properties (SRP) without the City Council’s authority.
But his unwitting error in signing the vetoed ordinance has opened the question of which of the two actions is valid.
Rama said his veto message sent on Aug. 7 should be given weight by the City Council which has set it for deliberation during the next sesion on Aug. 15.
His chief critic, Rep. Tomas Osmena of Cebu City’s south district, said otherwise.
He said signing an ordinance is like getting married; it cannot be revoked just because of a change of heart.
He said the ordinance “protecting the South Road Properties and its stakeholders from unlawful and unauthorized transactions and dealings” is ready for implementation because it carried the mayor’s signature.
“I have made repeated statements through the media that I am not for it,” he said.
Mayor Rama said he hasn’t seen the signed SRP ordinance and can’t say his signature appears there.
Rama said he ordered City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete to track the the document when it reached his office last July 27.
Rama was in Korea on official travel at the time.
A signed copy of the ordinance was sent to the City Council secretariat last Aug. 1 and was calendared for yesterday’s council session.
Rama issued his veto on the SRP ordinance on Aug. 7 and sent his veto message to the city council secretariat on the same day.
But whatever is the outcome of the mayor’s inquiry is moot and academic, Osmeña said.
He said the SRP ordinance was already signed and ready for implementation.
Rama said in his veto message that the SRP ordinance was “ultra vires” or beyond the council’s authority.
“To emphasize, the ordinance is unfair and oppressive on the exercise of the power of the chief executive on fiscal management including the administration of government properties such as the South Road Properties,” his message read.
Rama’s veto message also said the ordinance was discriminatory to the executive department.
“It is prohibiting the business of real estate in so far as the South Road Properties is concerned,” the mayor said.
Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young said in yesterday morning’s session that the council will have to wait for the mayor’s veto message to be calendared for discussion in the agenda on Aug. 15.
Councilor Edgar Labella, Rama’s council ally, said the signed ordinance cannot be considered valid.
Quoting Section 54 of the Local Government Code, Labella said ordinances should be signed by the mayor in all pages to be valid.
A copy of the ordinance transmitted to the City Council secretariat last Aug. 7 only has Rama’s signature on the fifth and last page.
Labella said the mayor’s signature also appears on a page which doesn’t mention any ordinance provision.
Labella said the mayor’s signature on the last page may even be interpreted as a partial veto of the ordinance.
Young said if he agreed with this logic, all City Council-approved ordinances would be invalid including all past voluminous budget ordinances.
Congressman Osmeña said the mayor’s signing of the SRP ordinance was a sign of poor management.
He said it was difficult to understand how Rama, a lawyer missed reading the document that he signed.
“I’d like to congratulate Mayor Rama for being the first mayor to veto an approved ordinance,” Osmeña said.
But Rama said what’s important is that his “veto stands.”