By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
ILOILO City Mayor Jose Espinosa III explained why vetoed or prohibited parts of the P2.318-billion annual budget for 2019, particularly the maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) allocation of the City Mayors Office.
Espinosa laid down his bases for his veto in a veto message dated Dec 27, 2019.
The mayor emphasized that splitting the 2019 annual budget into two tranches is ultra vires or beyond the legal authority and is not allowed by law.
The City Council approved the 2019 budget on Dec 12, 2018.
But the appropriations committee chaired by Councilor Plaridel Nava introduced a new spending mechanism by splitting into two tranches the allocations for MOOE and capital outlay of the mayors office and the Sangguniang Panlungsod.
Under the said spending mechanism, the mayor and the councilors can only spend half of the budget in the first six months of 2019 while the remaining will be disbursed in the second half of the year.
But Espinosa said the City Council overstepped its authority when it dictated the manner by which the budget will be spent.
Certain items of appropriations are hereby vetoed on the ground that they are outside of the Sangguniang Panlungsods authority. It would impose unauthorized restrictions and limitations in addition to those already provided for by law, Espinosa said.
City Administrator Hernando Galvez said restrictions and conditions to the budget are already stipulated in Republic Act 7160 (Local Government Code) which is a national.
Thus, a local ordinance like the appropriations ordinance cannot supersede or go beyond the limits set by RA 7160 and other pertinent national laws.
Ang RA 7160 and other national laws naga-provide na nga daan sang mga limitations and restrictions. Ginsiling sang aton alkalde nga sa pagpabutang sang sini nga restrictions and limitations, naga-guwa nga ang City Council nag-amend sang national law which cannot be done, Galvez stressed.
Aside from being ultra vires, some of the items were vetoed on the ground that they are deemed prejudicial to public welfare, according to Espinosa.
The provisions dividing the disbursement into two would not only affect but greatly prejudice the operation and functioning of different offices involved in the delivery of basic services needed by the people, he explained.
Espinosa stressed that splitting the appropriations would not only cripple but will also slow down the performance and efficiency of every offices concerned as they will be limited in cases of emergency, contingency, lack of supplies, lack of personnel, and inadequate equipment.
Making the annual budget as a semi-annual budget would also place the many programs and activities of the city government at standstill during those periods in which procurement process is ongoing. It would also promote inconvenience and unnecessary expense on the part of the city, he added.
Galvez particularly cited the budget allocated for the summer job program of the city government as problematic once the semi-annual budget scheme will be followed.
Ang summer job for example, ma-summer ka imo sa December? Ang pagdeliver sang serbisyo maapektuhan and ang general welfare maapektuhan kon indi mo pagtadlungon or i-check, he said.
YOUTH OFFICE BUDGET
Aside from the MOEE of the city mayors office, Espinosa also line vetoed the zero allocation for the LYDO.
Espinosa said slashing the P200,000 MOOE budget for the Local Youth and Development Office (LYDO) is contrary to law and pernicious to the welfare of the youth.
It would not only paralyze the delivery of services to the youth sector but would also be in derogation of the mandate creating said office in which local government units are obligated by law to include in its annual budget such amount may be necessary for the operation and effective functioning of the LYDO, the mayors veto message added.
Except for the vetoed items, all of the other parts of the 2019 budget are deemed approved, according to Galvez.
Based on Sec. 55 of the Local Government Code, unless the Sanggunian overrides the veto, the item or items in the appropriations ordinance of the previous year corresponding to those vetoed, shall be deemed reenacted.
With the veto on the zero budget for the LYDO, the office will use its 2018 MOOE allocation.
The SP can override the veto of the mayor by two-thirds vote of all its members.
Galvez said he is confident that the SP cannot override the veto.
Kon ako magbasa sang veto message ni mayor, biskan sa pihak ko nga partido ma-agree ko sa veto message that is why I believe wala basehan nga i-override sang SP ang veto, Galvez said.
Since the SP is composed of 14 members, at least 10 councilors are needed to override the veto.
Six councilors are identified with Espinosa Eduardo Peñaredondo, R Leoni Gerochi, Lyndon Acap, Candice Tupas, Mandrie Malabor, and Liezl Joy Zulueta-Salazar.
One of the opposition blocs is allied with Rep. Jerry Treñas Councilors Jay Treñas, Lady Julie Grace Baronda, Armand Parcon, Ely Estante, Marie Irene Ong, and Leila Luntao.
The other bloc Councilors Plaridel Nava and Joshua Alim are with Dr. Pacita Gonzalez, widow of the late justice secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr.
Both Treñas and Gonzalez will challenge Espinosa in the 2019 mayoral race.
If the council cannot override the veto, the mayors office will use the reenacted 2018 MOOE budget amounting to more than P672.9 million, which is bigger than the P121.6-million allocation for 2019.