Former Lapu councilor files complaint against Mayor Chan and acting legal officer

By: Doris C. Bongcac, Norman Mendoza October 11,2019 - 04:08 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines —A former Lapu-Lapu City Councilor has accused Mayor Junard Chan and acting City Legal Officer James Allan Sayson of usurpation of authority and official function.

Leo Mercado, who served as Pajo barangay captain ahead of Chan before he run and won a seat in the Lapu-Lapu City Council in 2016, wants Chan held criminally liable for the violation of provisions of the Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code of the Philippines; R.A. 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; and R. A. 6713, or An Act Establishing Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees for appointing Sayson as the City Legal Officer upon his assumption to office on July 1, 2019.

Mercado also wants Chan and Sayson held administratively liable for grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service.

“Pending the resolution of this case, respondents Chan and Sayson should be placed under preventive suspension,” Mercado said in his 17-page complaint.

Mercado filed his complaint before the office of the Ombudsman Visayas last September 27, 2019, in his capacity as a private citizen.

Chan, though, expressed confidence that the case which Mercado filed against him will not prosper, “just like the case the Barangay Captains have filed against me for allegedly conduct unbecoming of an official, grave misconduct, among others for allegedly harassing the staff of Congresswoman Paz Radaza at their District Office in the City Hall building.”

Chan clarified that he did not appoint Sayson as City Legal Officer.

“Wala pa tay gi appoint nga maoy City Legal Offcer. Unya vacant pa gyua na nga position. Si Atty. Sayson, OIC (officer in charge) lang siya diha,” he said in an interview with CDN Digital.

(We haven’t appointed a City Legal Officer yet. That position is still vacant. Atty. Sayson is only the Officer In Charge there.)

He said that the filing of Mercado’s complaint was just meant to disrupt his administration.

Mercado questioned Chan’s appointment of Sayson as City Legal Officer, pointing out that he isn’t even a resident of Lapu-Lapu City, where he now serves.

“Sayson told a blatant lie during one of his interviews and admittedly told them (reporters) that he is a resident of Lapu-Lapu City, where in truth and in fact, he is not. It is a public knowledge that Sayson has been a resident of Cebu City and was not even a resident of Mandaue City when he served the said Local Government Unit,” said Mercado’s complaint.

He alleged that Sayson also fell short of the requirement of at least five years in practice for those holding the position of provincial and city legal officers. 

Sayson, he said, has been a member of the bar for only three years. He used to hold the position of Atty IV at the Mandaue City Legal Office. 

Mercado added that while Sayson’s official designation is Executive Secretary to the mayor, he has been signing officials letters, documents and correspondence “bearing the designation of City Legal Officer.”

“The City Legal Officer is one of trust and confidence which enjoys limited powers confined merely to acts of administration. This is contrary to Sayson’s case, where he has clearly went beyond doing administrative duties in the city legal office. He has issued notices, letters, memorandum, signed franchises and made representation as City Legal Officer, all of which transcends beyond administrative matters,“ the complaint reads.

Mercado said that Sayon’s appointment as Executive Secretary is done ”under the pretense of official position in order to derail the controversy of his appointment.”

“The aforementioned acts of Sayson were made with the express imprimatur of Ahong Chan, who appointed him. An act which clearly amounts to usurpation of authority and official functions.” /bmjo

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TAGS: Ahong, Chan, complaint, former councilor, James Allan Sayson, Junard Chan, Lapu, lapu-lapu, Legal Office, Leo Mercado, OIC, Sayson, usurpation of authority and official function

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