Brgy. Luz’ no.1 councilor assumes office
Labella has power to fill vacancy in village council
CEBU CITY, Philippines—The number one barangay councilor in Barangay Luz here is now at the helm of the village following the death of its chief, Ronilo Sab-a.
And it is up to Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella to fill the vacuum among councilors as they climb up in their ranks.
“The mayor has the appointing authority to fill the vacuum within the Sangguniang Barangay,” said lawyer Ian Kenneth Lucero, officer-in-charge of the Department of Interior and Local Government in Cebu City (DILG-Cebu City), in Cebuano.
On Monday, February 15, 2021, former Luz barangay councilor and now captain Renato Labrador formally took oath as the village chief.
Labrador, in a phone interview, said their office received instructions from the Central Visayas office of DILG that the vacancy in the barangay’s top seat should be filled immediately.
DILG also said the barangay council can forward recommendations to the mayor as to who they want to be the newest councilor.
However, barangay officials in Luz all agreed to defer discussions about this matter as of the moment.
“Our priorities right now are to ensure all paperworks will be complied for the releasing of aid intended for Kap Ronil’s family. And the barangay is still grieving, so we consider this as out of the question,” said Labrador in Cebuano.
Sab-a passed away last Friday, February 12, in a tragic accident. The late barangay captain was found lifeless in the knee-deep waters of Barangay Jubay in Liloan town, northern Cebu.
Reports from the police in Liloan showed that Sab-a was invited for an outing by friends last Friday.
His relatives later told investigators that the official had a history of hypertension and stroke.
As captain of Barangay Luz, Sab-a led the response in their village during the first half of 2020 when it became the first area in Cebu City to confirm community transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
On the other hand, a barangay councilor of Sawang Calero in downtown Cebu City was jailed last Sunday, February 14 for shooting a 33-year-old man.
Barangay Councilor Benjamin Zabate was arrested in the neighboring barangay of Suba in a hot pursuit operation at 3 p.m. or two hours after Zabate allegedly shot dead Albert Rafols of 280-D Tupaz Street, Barangay Sawang Calero.
Police said the suspect and the victim got into a heated argument shortly before the crime occurred.
Lucero said Zabate, while being detained, cannot perform official functions as elected councilor of the village.
“But he is still considered as an elected barangay councilor with presumption of innocence. We will have to wait until there is a ruling or decision (from the court) on the case,” explained Lucero.
Zabate on Monday, February 15 declined to give comments when reporters visited him in his detention cell at the San Nicolas Police Station (Police Station 6).
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