Davao City councilor claims he will succeed resigned Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte
DAVAO CITY – Councilor Bernard Al-ag on Friday said he would be succeeding resigned Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte based on the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991, specifically section 44.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday announced that President Duterte had already accepted Paolo’s resignation.
The younger Duterte announced his resignation during the city council’s special session on Christmas Day, which was called for the purposes of declaring the city under state of calamity due to the floods spawned by Severe Tropical Storm Vinta.
In announcing his decision, Paolo cited problems such as his being dragged into the P6.4-billion drug smuggling case, and things concerning his first marriage, which he described as “failed”.
He also spoke of his public spat with his daughter, Isabelle, and how his name was name dropped at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
“There are recent unfortunate events in my life that are closely tied to my failed first marriage. These, among others, include the maligning of my reputation in the recent name dropping incident in the Bureau of Customs’ smuggling case and the very public squabble with my daughter,” Paolo said.
“I humbly and fully accept the duties and responsibilities as vice mayor of this city,” Al-ag, of the third legislative district, told the Inquirer by phone.
If the top winner in each district was used as the sole basis for selecting Paolo’s successor, Councilor Maria Belen Acosta of the first district would have been vice mayor with 154,648 votes garnered in 2016 as Second district Councilor Marissa Salvador Abella had only 122,331 votes. Al-ag came in third with 117,119 votes.
Acosta would still be on top if the number of voters per district was also made the basis.
Based on 2015 data from the Commission on Elections, the first legislative district – with the administrative districts of Poblacion and Talomo – had a total registered voters of 391,353; the second legislative district – made of the administrative districts of Agdao, Buhangin, Bunawan and Paquibato – had 255,154; while Al-ag’s third district – composed of the administrative districts of Baguio, Calinan, Marilog, Toril, and Tugbok – had 241,567 registered voters.
But Al-ag said the Local Government Code was very specific and that the councilor ranked number 1 based on percentage votes garnered in the last elections was the successor, and that was him.
Acosta and Abella did not pick up calls nor texted back when their opinions were sought.
Under Section 44 of the Local Government Code, “the highest ranking Sanggunian member or, in case of his permanent inability, the second highest ranking Sanggunian member, shall become the…vice-mayor, as the case may be.”
“Subsequent vacancies in the said office shall be filled automatically by the other Sanggunian members according to their ranking as defined herein,” the provision added.
The Local Government Code also said the “ranking in the Sanggunian shall be determined on the basis of the proportion of votes obtained by each winning candidate to the total number of registered voters in each district in the immediately preceding local election.”
Al-ag was the most senior Sanggunian member and was the incumbent majority floorleader.
He said it was the Comelec who had certified his ranking in the 2016 elections.
While he did not agree with the decision of the resigned vice mayor and presidential son, Al-ag said he had no choice but to “accept what is provided by law.”
Copies of documents confirming that the President has accepted the vice mayor’s resignation would be furnished to the city council, he said.
Al-ag said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), through the city local government officer (CLGO), would administer his oath of assumption.
He said he would serve Paolo’s unexpired term until 2019.
Al-ag said that with his upcoming assumption as vice mayor, the city council would now be left with 23 members.
He said to fill the vacancy due to his rise as vice mayor, the dominant party – in this case the Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod (Alliance of City Dwellers) – will craft a resolution, naming a party member as new Sangguniang Panlungsod member.
He said the resolution would be forwarded to President Duterte for approval.
Al-ag said it was not necessary that the replacement SP member would also sit on the day he assumes the vice mayorship.
He said Hugpong has not even decided to meet yet.
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