Mayor Junard Chan (facing the camera partly covered) in a huddle with his advisers in his office, among them Atty. Danilo Almendras and Atty. James Allan Sayson (iNews.Ph photo)

LAPU-LAPU CITY, PHILIPPINES- Mayor Junard Chan will violate the country’s local government code (Republic Act 7160) if he pushes through with appointing to sensitive positions some non-residents of this city.

This has been found out by iNews.Ph research after Chan announced that he is appointing as department heads in city hall some people who are not Lapu-Lapu City residents.

Those affected will be at least three; the city administrator, city legal officer, and the city’s information officer, Atty. Danilo Almendras, Atty. James Allan Sayson and Oscar Pineda, respectively, because they are not residents of Lapu-Lapu City.

Reporters, however, covering the Lapu-Lapu City hall have not yet seen their appointment papers signed by Mayor Chan but the three along with some others were earlier announced by Chan as among his department heads that will work with him.

The three also are very visible already in the city hall but their impending “official appointments” may face rough sailing as the city council may eventually raise the provisions in RA 7160 that iNews.Ph has found out.

Sec. 480 of the RA 7160 is very explicit as to the appointment of “The Administrator (Qualifications, Term, Powers and Duties)” to wit; “(a) No person shall be appointed administrator unless he is a citizen of the Philippines, a resident of the local government unit concerned, of good moral character xxx … xxxx of which Almendras may have a problem because he is not known as a resident of Lapu-Lapu City.

A highly placed source told iNews.Ph however that Almendras has recently stayed to a relative in Barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu City but prior to his reporting in the city hall of Lapu-Lapu, the lawyer has been the City Administrator of Mandaue City.

“He is already staying in Basak where he has a relative,” the source told this writer yesterday.

Another official that is facing the same situation is Atty. James Allan Sayson, the personal choice of Mayor Chan as the city legal officer.

Sayson along with Almendras is very visible even at the office of the Mayor since Chan started his office last July 1.

Like that of Almendras, Sayson has last worked with the Mandaue City government as among the assistants of then Mandaue City legal officer Omar Redulla.

Sec. 481 of RA 7160 is also very clear that no person shall be appointed the legal officer unless one must be resident of the local government concerned.

Another presumptive official is Oscar Pineda whom Chan has also announced as his “information officer.”

An ex-journalist connected then with a local daily, Pineda’s last job prior to his reporting at the Lapu-Lapu City Hall is with the public information office of Cebu province.

Pineda is known to his peers to be a resident of Minglanilla town which is under the political jurisdiction of Cebu province and not with Lapu-Lapu City, which is already a highly urbanized city (HUC) and has since been declared as a “Lone Congressional District.”

Similar to that of Almendras and Sayson, Pineda’s qualification is questionable as per Sec. 486 of RA 7160 pertaining to the information officer.

Chan earlier told the local media that he chose Almendras and company as they are “experienced public servants.”

Another official which may be affected also by this provision in the local government code is Ronald Malacora, then the head of the Cebu City General Services Office because like the three Malacora is also not a known resident of Lapu-Lapu City.

Sec. 490 (The General Services Officer ) of the code is also very clear of the qualification that the person should be resident of the local government unit concerned (Malacora has not been seen however by this reporter to have visited Chan’s office).

Then Mayor Radaza who is now the Congresswoman of the city has earlier commented very strongly on the decision of Chan in hiring non- residents of Lapu-Lapu City, calling it as, “insult to the Oponganon.”

Radaza picked department heads that are bonafide residents of Lapu-Lapu City.

“Ang ako lang ba nga gi-announce nga sila…it’s an insult to the Oponganon,” Radaza’s comment went.

Two other personalities were prominently mentioned by Chan, Nagiel Banacia and Gary Lao but their positions being the head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) and the Lapu-Lapu City Office for Substance Abuse Prevention (LOSAP) respectively, are not included in the provisions of the code.

Both are former employees of the Cebu City government like Malacora./AAJ