Ailing Bukidnon mayor resigns; husband eyed for town council seat but…

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/06 March) – Citing poor health, Mayor Alicia Resus of Maramag town in Bukidnon has resigned effective March 8, but reports said her partymates wanted her husband appointed to a seat in the municipal council owing to the vacancy that her resignation will create.

Ronelo Alvarez, provincial director of the Department of Interior and Local Government confirmed the report and the reason for Resus’ resignation.

Resus, 56, has been reported to be sick and has been on leave for several months. No health bulletin so far has been issued by the municipal government or her family.

Alvarez told UMBN Radyo Ukay Wednesday Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri accepted the resignation as direct supervisor of municipal mayors.

Lawyer Nestor Cajes, acting provincial administrator, confirmed Resus’ resignation but refused to give further comments to avoid pre-empting Zubiri’s pronouncement.

Resus, who has a Master’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from Araneta University Foundation, is serving her second term as mayor. She served as vice mayor from 2001 to 2010.

By rule of succession, Vice Mayor Jose Obedencio, a partymate of Resus and Zubiri at the Bukidnon Paglaum Party (BPP) will assume as mayor. Obedencio served as town mayor from 2001 to 2010.

Maramag’s number 1 municipal councilor Jose Joel Doromal, a lawyer who belonged to the Aksyon Demokratiko party, will become vice mayor, leaving one seat at the municipal council vacant.

Board member Gordon Torres, a former municipal councilor from Maramag and a BPP member, told Radyo Ukay Wednesday that Bing Resus, the mayor’s husband, is being eyed for the vacant position.

But a provision in Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 may hinder such plan.

Section 44 of RA 7160 states: “If a permanent vacancy occurs in the office of the governor or mayor, the vice-governor or vice-mayor concerned shall become the governor or mayor. If a permanent vacancy occurs in the offices of the governor, vice-governor, mayor, or vice-mayor, the highest ranking sanggunian member or, in case of his permanent inability, the second highest ranking sanggunian member shall become the governor, vice-governor, mayor or vice-mayor, as the case may be.”

However, for vacancy in the municipal council, Section 45-B of the Code provides that “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 hereinabove provided. The appointee shall come from the same political party as that of the sanggunian member who caused the vacancy and shall serve the unexpired term of the vacant office.”

This provision gives Doromal or his party the right to name who shall occupy the vacancy in the municipal council.

Philippine jurisprudence, particularly Supreme Court decision on Navarro and Tamayo vs. CA; GR-141307-March 28-2001 stressed that the party who will appoint the replacement for the 8th member of the council is that of the official who caused the who caused the vacancy as stated in Section 45B of the Local Government Code.

DILG Bukidnon meanwhile said the turnover of responsibility is scheduled on March 11 during which Obedencio and Doromal will take their oaths of office before Zubiri. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)