Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama yesterday named a new City Legal Officer to replace Joseph Bernaldez.
Jerome Castillo, an old hand at the City Legal Office, will be the city’s attorney effective July 1 or the day when Rama officially begins his second term in office.
“I had an hour and half talk with him and I can say he (Castillo) is a humble person with simple desires and very clear in his heart,” said Rama.
Castillo joined City Hall in 2005 as Legal Officer III. He was involved in some of the city’s controversial legal battles including the case involving the Rallos property and a tax suit against a retail giant.
Prior to joining City Hall, Castillo worked at the regional office of the DENR Mines and Geosciences Bureau as an accountant. Aside from being a lawyer, he is also a certified public accountant.
“Gi hatagan na man ko niya ug bird’s eyeview sa iyang capabilities. I asked him of his ability, contributions to city, how long have you been performing the job of a lawyer. Importante kayo ang maturity in handling the office,” Rama said.
Rama added that he chose Castillo because of his display of loyalty and intellect. Castillo also shared his desire to safeguard the people’s money and in steadfastly fighting for cases involving the city government until it reaches the Supreme Court.
The mayor said the city attorney-designate was also in agreement with him on the need to operate the City Legal Office like a legal firm with high level of professionalism from its staff.
“He agreed with me that he will handle it like a legal firm, with professionalism embodied aron ang professionalism klaro kayo,” said Rama, adding “naay mga wala mabuhat kaniadto nga buhatonon karon. Daghan ug challenges (There are things that were not done before that will have to be done today. We’re facing many challenges).”
The mayor is confident that Castillo’s selection will not cause demoralization among the more senior legal officers at City Hall.
“It’s my prerogative who I would like (to appoint) kay co-terminus man na,” Rama said.