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Amid Rama suspension issue, Cebu City Hall operations continue, says VM Garcia

By: Niña Mae C. Oliverio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | May 10,2024 - 09:01 AM

Cebu City Hall

The Cebu City Hall. CDN Digital photo | Brian J. Ochoa

CEBU CITY, Philippines —  Amid the controversy involving Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, operations at the city hall will continue so services needed by the people of the city won’t be hampered. 

This is what Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia assured City Hall employees, saying operations will continue as usual regardless of who the mayor is. 

“Di ta maguol kay pariha raman ta’g direction. Pariha raman ta’g gipadulngan. It’s just lahi lang ang konduktor, lahi lang ang driver. Para nako it should be business as usual. All transactions in the City Hall will go as it is supposed to do. Wala’y ma-stop,” VM Garcia said. 

Mayor Rama was ordered suspended for six months by the Office of the Ombudsman for his administration’s failure to pay several employees their salaries for months.

READ MORE: EXPLAINER: Rama suspension and why the Ombudsman ordered it?

VM Garcia said he is ready to act as the mayor if the suspension order will be implemented on Rama.  

“Of course, ngano gung dili. I mean, when we took our oath as vice mayor of the City of Cebu, one of the duties and obligations there is to function as mayor in case of the incapacity either temporary or permanent of the mayor,” VM Garcia said. 

Garcia clarified that he and Rama only knew about the suspension issue when the news broke out but they did not receive any document or any notice from the Ombudsman or from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Central Office about the suspension order. 

“We were shocked and surprised by what happened,” VM Garcia said. 

“It is a very big responsibility considering that you are going to govern or take care of an entire city… Dako ni nga responsibilidad nga atoang atubangon,” VM Garcia added.

However, the vice mayor opted to not give an official statement about the matter because he has not yet read the document from the Ombudsman.

Petition for Certiorari

VM Garcia clarified that since he only knew about the order on Thursday, he does not have any plans moving forward in case he would act as the mayor. 

“You can ask me when the time comes,” the vice mayor told the reporters. 

“Of course, Mayor Mike has a lot of legal remedies pa. He can go to the Court of Appeals and question the order of the Ombudsman and they can issue a temporary restraining order (TRO). Daghan pa kaayo ning mga proseso maagian,” VM Garcia said. 

On the legal matters, Garcia said that the mayor’s team can file a “Petition for Certiorari” in the Court of Appeals and question the order of the Ombudsman in giving the preventive suspension to the mayor. 

According to the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School, a Petition for Certiorari is a request for an appellate court (Court of Appeals) to issue a writ of certiorari. It typically contends that a lower court has made an error in determining a significant legal issue, arguing that the error needs correction to avoid confusion in future similar cases.

VM Garcia, who is also a lawyer by profession, said that the petition should be filed upon the receipt of the order of the implementation of the preventive suspension. 

He added that it is “up to the courts to decide” if they issue a TRO. 

Moreover, the vice mayor said that “it’s not gonna be a difficult transition” if he ever acts as the mayor because he has already worked with the majority of the department heads and the employees. 

“If ever lang mahitabo ni ha, kay wa [pa]man gi-serve. Unya naa pama’y legal remedy si Mayor Mike. Of course, iyaha panang ipursue. Wa ta kahibaw naa’y TRO ma-issue,” VM Garcia said. 

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TAGS: Cebu City, Ombudsman, politics

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