TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- The Regional Trial Court (RTC) has denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Cagayan’s legislative board on a mandamus order regarding the approval of the 2017 executive budget.
In a three-paged decision dated October 27, the RTC Branch 03 Presiding Judge Marivic Cacatian-Beltran dismissed the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s (SP) motion for lack of merit.
The court ruling did not agree with the argument of the provincial board that they have other important matters to deliberate other than the 2017 budget.
It said tackling the budget is not SP’s “abandonment or neglect of other or additional functions” because it is one of their responsibilities under the local government code.
The court said it was also a “baseless hypothesis” for the board to argue that the executive will paralyze the local sanggunian’s functions by the former’s refusal to submit documents needed for the budget’s approval.
The SP’s motion was in response to the mandamus “partly granting” Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba’s petition directing the board to not to include any agenda but the proposed 2017 executive budget in its weekly regular sessions.
Vice-Governor and SP Presiding Officer Melvin Vargas, Jr told The Northern Forum that the SP respects the decision of the court, however, they are going to bring their motion to the Court of Appeals.
“We spoke with our lawyers, our legal team, and we will elevate this in the higher court such as the court of appeals because we feel that we are duty bound [that], after the 90 days grace period of the budget, we can be able to tackle other agendas besides the budget,” Vargas said.
“Iisa naman ang paniniwala namin dito sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan, being the legislators in the province,” he added.
Earlier this year when the mandamus was enacted, Vargas said the board has always been tackling the budget in their regular sessions, even without court mandate.
The board is currently conducting ‘marathon sessions’ to deliberate the 2017 Annual Investment Program and executive budget. Northernforum.net