Rama to DOF: Respect my choice for treasurer

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THE disagreement between Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and the Department of Finance over the appointment of Tessie Camarillo as head of the City Treasurer’s Office may be history repeating itself.

Just like in January 2012, Rama asked the Department of Finance (DOF) yesterday to respect his decision to appoint Emma Villarete as acting city treasurer.

Last Jan 18, Director Carmelane Tugas of the Bureau of Local Government Finance 7 (BLGF 7) issued an order designating Camarillo as “caretaker” of the CTO until such time that a new treasurer will be named.

With Camarillo’s appointment, Villarete returned to her old post as cashier IV.

Rama said yesterday the BLGF order was unnecessary because he already designated Villarete to continue her occupancy of the CTO until the issue on the new city treasurer is resolved. His order also came a day ahead of Tugas’ January 18 order.

“I do not know how they will resolve the matter at the BLGF level,” said Rama.

But Rama said he prefers working with Villarete, who will have to assume her position as cashier IV following the BLGF order, because of his trust and confidence on her.

“Emma has been doing her job to the best of her ability and to fill in the gap. The best thing is for BLGF to connect with me,” he said.

Last year, Rama asked the BLGF, an agency under the DOF to replace Camarillo after he lost confidence on the treasurer for not defending before the City Council the proposed 2012 budget amounting to P11.8 billion. The City Council only approved P5.3 billion for that year.

Rama was successful in appointing Ofelia Oliva as acting treasurer. But in April last year, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima appointed Emma Villarete as treasurer and elevated the issue to the court.

Despite Rama’s dislike for Villarete, he was prevailed upon to accept Villarete’s appointment when the court upheld the appointment made by Purisima.

In a change of heart Rama wanted Villarete to continue serving city treasurer despite the end of her term last Jan. 16.

The Local Government Code mandates the Finance secretary or the BLGF executive director to appoint treasurers in towns, cities and municipalities from a list of three candidates submitted by local chief executives.

However, Rama said, as mayor he should be given the prerogative to chose his city treasurer./Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac

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