DILG concurs DBM on project authorization issue PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 24 January 2011 14:32

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has declared that the authority given to the local chief executive for the implementation of projects through City Ordinances is sufficient legal basis even without prior Council authorization.

In a letter to Mayor Celso Lobregated dated January 10, 2011, DILG Legal Service Director Jesus B. Duque IV said: “Applying the above-discussion to your case, since Ordinance Nos. 643 and 645 already authorized you to enter into a contract in behalf of the City Government of Zamboanga for the execution or implementation of that City’s programs and projects, we concur with your view that such authority given by the above-mentioned ordinances can already be sufficient legal bases for you to enter a contract for and in behalf of the City of Zamboanga even if there is no prior authorization from the Sanggunian.”

Much earlier, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said “It may be clarified that the review actions of our Regional Office simply emphasized the requirements in above-cited provisions of RA No. 7160 in the execution and implementation of the Annual and Supplemental Budgets of the City Government of Zamboanga. As with every local government unit, the City Government of Zamboanga is responsible for ensuring compliance with these legal requirements in relation to the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in “Hon. Gabriel Luis Quisumbing et al., vs. Hon. Gwedolyn F. Garcia et al. Thus, it is incumbent upon the City Government of Zamboanga to show or provide the Sanggunian authorization in instances when the same is required by law”.

Mayor Lobregat has sought clarifications on review actions concerning appropriations in generic terms of the city’s Supplemental Budget 2 also known as Appropriation Ordinance 645 and its counterpart provision in the city’s FY 2011 Annual Budget (Appropriation ordinance 643) in relation to sections 22 ( c ) and 346 of Republic Act 7160.

Section 22 of RA 7160 states “unless otherwise provided in this code, no contract may be entered into by the local chief executive in behalf of the local government unit without prior authorization by the sanggunian concerned while section 346 of the same law talks about disbursements of local funds and statement of accounts which states “disbursements shall be made in accordance with the ordinance authorizing the annual or supplemental appropriations without the prior approval of the sanggunian concerned.”

However, in place of the authority to enter to into contract that the Council has been giving Mayor Lobregat through resolutions, the 2010 Supplemental Budget No. 2 (Section 25 Ordinance 643) and 2011 Annual Budget (Section 2 Ordinance 645) incorporate the provision: “Appropriations in Generic Terms. To authorize the City Mayor to identify and program item/s in this budget (MOOE and Capital Outlay) which are appropriated in generic terms, provided that a list of identified and programmed infrastructure projects appropriated in generic terms for a particular month be submitted to the Sangguniang Panlungsod on or before the 15th day of the succeeding month and to authorize the City Mayor to enter into contract for and in behalf of the City Government of Zamboanga for the execution or implementation of programs and projects.”

Two weeks ago, a member of the City Council made headlines in radio, television and newspapers accusing the mayor of not complying the law citing the DBM Regional office’s review action on the city’s 2011 annual budget.

Mayor Lobregat has stressed that there is no further need of authorization from the Sangguniang as the respective sections in the said ordinances already gives him the authority to sign the contracts and implement the programs and projects.

On Jan. 7, the mayor referred the matter to DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo and even furnished Sec. Abad’s clarification in the said letter. In his letter, he said: This is an urgent matter involving the issue of additional Sanggunian authorization for the City Mayor to enter into contracts in the implementation of programs and projects contained in the approved annual and supplemental budgets of the City of Zamboanga which will affect not only our city but other local government units as well.”

Lobregat emphasized his position on the matter by saying: “Foregoing considered, the undersigned believes that being already authorized, as incorporated in Sec. 2 and Sec. 25 of Ordinance Nos. 645 and 643, respectively, there is no need for further/ additional authority from the Sangguniang Panlungsod to enter into contracts to implement specific projects falling under appropriated items in generic terms in our supplemental and annual budgets”. — Sheila Covarrubias