‘A GOOD TEST CASE’: DILG welcomes Cartagena’s petition

City Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Director Atty. Ferdinand L. Panes

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Iloilo City welcomes the claim of lawyer Dan Cartagena to fill up the vacancy left by the late Councilor Armand Parcon.

Cartagena, who placed 13th in the Iloilo City council race on May 13, 2019, had filed on June 26, 2019 a Petition for Mandamus, Injunction with Application for Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) before the Supreme Court (SC) in a bid to fill up the vacancy caused by Parcon’s death.

In an interview on Thursday, outgoing DILG director Atty. Ferdinand Panes said the petition will clarify the jurisprudence on the issue.

“Personally, mas gusto ko may amo na, I welcome that development because it will create a precedence. Jurisprudence na, very much welcome kay ma argue siya sang iya punto pati ang Commission on Election (Comelec) and DILG because ang situation nga ni wala pa decided case. Welcome na ina on my part para mabal-an naton kung diin matindog sing husto,” he said.

While the DILG central office has already issued its opinion on the matter, Panes said that there is no specific provision of the law that governs the situation.

Wala pa specific provision law, it needs a decision of the court kay kon puro lang na opinion, if we have thousands of lawyers, then we have thousands of opinions. So I hope ma-resolve na sang SC with finality,” he stressed.

Panes said that they have already issued an opinion on the filling up of vacancies by applying Section 45 of the Local Government Code of the Philippines, which states that only a nominee from the same political party as nominated by the highest political party leader can be appointed to fill up the permanent vacancy.

He emphasized that they will stick to the DILG opinion unless restrained.

“In 2016 we rendered an opinion nga enkaso magbakante ang position sa SP (city council), after election and proclamation but before assumption to office, gina-apply namon ang Sec. 45. We will stick to it unless restrained,” he said.

Cartagena anchored his petition on Republic Act (RA) 6636 which mandates that the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) of Iloilo City should be composed of 12 councilors.

He also questioned Section 45 of the Local Government Code emphasizing that Parcon has not taken his oath and failed to assume office hence, Section 45 can only be applied to the unexpired term of his vacancy which is only until June 30, 2019.

Another lawyer, re-elected Councilor Eduardo Peñaredondo also finds Cartagena’s claim reasonable.

“Parcon has never taken oath as member of the city council so because he has not taken oath. Atty. Cartagena has a good reason to claim that he is supposed to be the number 12 in our slot. It has logic and may reasonableness,” he said.

Peñaredondo also believes that Cartagena’s petition is a good test case that has never been tackled in the country, so it must be clarified by the court.

“There’s a legal vacuum as far as that matter is concerned. In fact, there is no legal precedent in that matter so that is a good test case as far as the issue of Dan Cartagena is concerned. It is timely for the court to decide who the rightful owner of the position is,” he said.

In his petition, Cartagena asked the SC to direct the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reconvene the Board of Canvassers for the City of Iloilo and proclaim him as the 12th winning candidate.

He also sought to enjoin and restrain the DILG from facilitating and processing the appointment of Parcon’s vacancy through Sec. 45 of the Local Government Code.