TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- The provincial legal head of Cagayan government insisted that the executive department cannot approve the release of the salaries of job order employees of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) because it is “illegal.”
In an interview on Saturday, April 7, lawyer Vicente Lasam, the head of the Provincial Legal Office, said it is illegal for the SP and the vice governor’s office to decide where a budget should be spent, citing a Supreme Court decision in abolishing the pork barrel.
Lasam said the provincial board tried to get funding for the job order employees from their nonitemized P27 million budget for both SP and vice governor’s docouments, maintenance, and other operating expenses (MOOEs).
This, according to Lasam, however, is considered illegal since the approved budget ordinance did not specify how the P27 million will used as MOOE.
The SP in an earlier session raised the issue, saying they have the right to know the reason the executive department’s reason in not approving the salaries of the job order employees.
The provincial legal chief argued that there is no itemization for the P27 million for the new job order employees based on the approved budget, meaning it was lump sum.
“Ang sabi nila…to augment MOOE. Tiningnan ko ‘yung MOOE sa budget nila, there are 13 items of MOOE under the office of the vice governor. There are also 36 items of MOOE under the office of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Eh saan mo ilalagay dun? What items were will spend the P27 million,” Lasam said.
“[The salaries for job orders are] not in the budget. They (SP) cannot decide where that will go, because it is not in the budget. Bawal ‘yan. Bawal ang lump sum appropriation. The members of Congress cannot decide anymore kung saan gagamitin ‘yung budget,” he added.
During SP’s last session, board members questioned the authority of Lasam to order the non-release of the salaries, saying it should come from the governor himself.
Lasam, however, clarified that the order came from the governor himself since he was the one who refused to sign the release.
But as to his opinion letter sent to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Lasam said he will let the governor sign and approve, only to make “authoritative.”
“They don’t consider my opinion as authoritative? Kapag pinapirma ko kay Governor ‘yun, puwede rin. Madali lang ‘yun. Eh di ipapirma ko kay Governor sa Tuesday, Walang problema ‘yun,” Lasam said. Northernforum.net