- Category: Regional Legal Opinions
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25 February 2013
HON. RONALDO T. FLORES
Doña Remedios Trinidad
Dear Mayor Flores,
This has reference to your letter seeking Department’s legal opinion a propos various issues involving some of the Sangguniang Bayan members of the Municipality of Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan.
Regarding your first concern or the frequent failure to attend session of some members of the sanggunian resulting to lack of quorum to transact business (enact or pass legislative measures) particularly the approval of Annual Budget, your own Internal Rules of Procedure may directly address this situation. You are of the opinion that said pattern of alternate absences is a political maneuver in order not to transact business in the sanggunian. In this kind of situation, proper administrative charges may be filed for the absentee sanggunian member before the Office of the Ombudsman. Further, a review of the existing IRP is needed in order to address this issue if still not treated therein. Likewise, the Local Government Code lays a provision regarding the absences of the sanggunian members during sessions without justifiable cause/s. As provided under the LGC, the absentee member may be disciplined for absences without justifiable cause for four (4) consecutive sessions. Said sanggunian may be reprimanded censured or excluded from the session, suspended for a period of not more than sixty (60) days, or expelled with the concurrence of at least two-thirds (2/3) votes of all the sanggunian member. But this is not the case, as you put it, the strategy of the sanggunian is an alternating absence of some members resulting to failure to muster quorum. The remedy therefore is the filing of appropriate charges or negligence and/or misconduct if the pattern is obvious.
If resorting to filing of administrative charges is not your option, you may assert one of the express powers granted to local chief executive by the Code. You may call for a meeting to discuss the pending matter considering that the enactment of Annual Budget is important for the promotion of the general welfare of the local government unit and your inhabitants. It is allowed under Section 444 (b)(2)(ii) of the Local Government Code. It is pursuant to the corporate powers provided under Section 22 of the same Code.
If said available remedies failed, then pursuant to the same Code, the previous budget shall be re-enacted until the ordinance authorizing the proposed appropriations is passed by the sanggunian concerned. If the sangguniang bayan still fails to enact the annual appropriation, they shall continue to hold sessions without additional remuneration for its members until such ordinance is approved and no other business may be taken up during the sessions. Only the annual appropriations for salaries and wages of existing positions, statutory and contractual obligations, and supplemental budgets for the preceding year shall be deemed reenacted and disbursement of funds shall be in accordance therewith.
This opinion is without prejudice to any legal opinion that may be rendered by the DILG Central Office.
Hope this treats your concerns.
Very truly yours,
FLORIDA M. DIJAN, DPA, CESO III
Atty. Jesus B. Doque IV Mr. Darwin D. David Ms. Nicanora A. Geronimo
Director, Legal Service OIC-Provincial Director LGOO V-DILG DRT
DILG Central Office DILG Bulacan DRT, Bulacan