‘Loser Cartagena’ wants to be a winner

(Photo Courtesy of Lawyer Dan Cartagena/Facebook)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE 13th placer in the Iloilo City council race last May 13, 2019 is seeking to fill in the “vacancy” left by the late Councilor Armand Parcon through a Supreme Court petition.

Lawyer Dan Cartagena confirmed in an interview that he filed a Petition for Mandamus, Injunction with Application for Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injuction and Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) before the SC in Manila on June 25, 2019 at around 1:30 p.m.

Cartagena said he asked the SC to compel the Commission on Elections to allow him to occupy the 12th slot in the recent City council race.

“This is a petition for mandamus under Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court praying that respondent Commission on Elections (Comelec) be directed to reconvene the Board of Canvassers for the City of Iloilo and proclaim the petitioner as the 12th winning candidate for the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Iloilo City during the May 13, elections in view of the death of one of the 12 proclaimed winners before he could have taken his office in the incoming SP of Iloilo City,” read part of the petition.

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

“We have a law, RA 6636 which states that the SP of Iloilo City shall have 12 member councilors. Since napatay si Councilor Parcon, 11 na lang. You have to comply with the law nga kinahanglan 12, so ang ibutang mo nga ika-12 the most practical is me, Dan Cartagena who is number 13 because that is the most practical, convenient, portable, inexpensive and it is reflective of the will of the electorate,” Cartagena emphasized.

In his petition, Cartagena argued that 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) can only be applied to the unexpired term of the vacancy.

“The appointee shall only serve the unexpired term so unexpired term ni Parcon will be from the time nga napatay siya asta June 30, 2019 so while he is a sanggunian member of SP from 2016-2019, pwede siya may ma appoint. But he is still not yet an SP member for the 2019-2022 term because he has not taken his oath of office and he has not assumed office so by all means, indi sya pwede matawag nga SP member,” he added.

In previous interviews, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) City Director Atty. Ferdinand Panes has emphasized that the manner of filling up the vacancy will be anchored on Section 45, thus Cartagena’s succession is not allowed.

But, Cartagena said that he already included in his petition that DILG will be restrained from processing and facilitating the appointment of the Parcon’s vacant seat.

“Gin-include ko man ang DILG sa akon nga petition nga i-enjoin sila kag i-restrain sila nga indi sila mag process, facilitate kag magpadayon kon ano man nga application for appointment under Sec. 45 because that is not sanctioned by law. Ang ginatan-aw ta di subong they can only appoint to serve the unexpired term of Parcon,” he said.

Panes also cited the “Lame Duck” provision in the Local Government Code stating that bets who lost in previous elections, except barangay elections, cannot be appointed or designated to any office of the government or government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCCs) for a period of one year.

Based on Sec. 45 of the Local Government Code of the Philippines, permanent vacancies in the sanggunian where automatic successions provided above do not apply shall be filled by appointment in the following manner:

  1. The President, through the Executive Secretary, in the case of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and the Sangguniang Panlungsod of highly urbanized cities and independent component cities;
  2. The governor, in the case of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of component cities and the Sangguniang Bayan;
  3. The city or municipal Mayor, in the case of Sangguniang barangay, upon recommendation of the Sangguniang barangay concerned.

Under the law, except for the sangguniang barangay, only the nominee of the political party under which the sanggunian member concerned had been elected and whose elevation to the position next higher in rank created the last vacancy in the sanggunian shall be appointed in the manner provided by the law.

Moreover, the appointee shall come from the same political party of the said sanggunian member who caused the vacancy and shall serve the unexpired term of the vacant office.

In the appointment herein mentioned, “a nomination and a certificate of membership of the appointee from the highest official of the political party concerned are conditions sine qua non, and any appointment without such nomination and certification shall be null and void ab initio and shall be a ground for administrative action against the official responsible therefor”.

Parcon, 59, passed away evening of May 23, 2019 due to pneumonia at the West Visayas Medical Center.

Parcon was serving as city councilor and won his reelection in the May 13 elections under the National Unity Party (NUP) headed by lone district congressman and mayor-elect Jerry Treñas.

He landed on the second spot among the 12 elected councilors and was proclaimed on May 14, 2019.