Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. wants to empower provincial government units in anti-corruption drive by expanding their “complaint dockets.”
Marcos is set to file at the opening of the 16th Congress next month a bill giving mandate to Sangguniang Panlalawigan to accept complaints against any elective official of component cities.
The bill is an amendment to the Local Government Code of 1991, particularly section 61, which provides that a complaint against any elective official of highly urbanized cities, an independent component city or component city shall be filed before the Office of the President.
Under the code, highly urbanized cities are those with a minimum population of 200,000 and with the latest annual income of P50 million. Independent component cities are those component cities whose charters prohibit their voters from voting for provincial elective officials.
Cities that do not meet such requirements shall be considered component cities of the province in which they are geographically located.
Marcos pointed out that under the concept of devolution, a component city is within the jurisdiction the administrative and disciplinary jurisdiction of the province where it is geographically located.
“In fact, the registered voters of the component city participate in the election of provincial officials,” Marcos stressed.
He added that the power of the provinces to ensure that the acts of the component units are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions as mandated by the Constitution includes the right to discipline any erring elective officials of the component units.
Likewise, Marcos noted that Section 63 of the code gives governors the power to preventively suspend elective officials of a component city “after the issues are joined, when the evidence of guilt is strong, and given the gravity of the offense, there is a great probability that the continuance in office of the respondent could influence the witnesses or pose a threat to the safety and integrity of the records and other evidence.”
In the process, Marcos said the governor relies to a great extent on the recommendation of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, based on its initial findings whether the preventive suspension is necessary.
“Thus, it is desirable that the complaint should be filed before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and not before the Office of the President,” he said.
“Finally, the objective of devolution will be best served if the province if the province has full disciplinary jurisdiction over officials of a component city. It strengthens inter-operability of the concerned local government units,” he added.