Friday, July 15, 2011

DENIED!: Morante’s case vs. Braganza et al

Administrative Beefs against Alaminos: Provincial Board complainant Ruben Morante (left) shows to members of the print and broadcast media in Dagupan City files of documents that he used against Alaminos City Mayor  Nani Braganza and company after the latter funded the edifices and belongings of Pangasinan State University-Alaminos City. With Morante is lawyer Gonzalo Duque, owner of Lyceum Northwestern University in Dagupan.

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

LINGAYEN-The acrimonious debate on whether the Office of the President (OP) or the Sanggunian Panlalawigan (SP) has jurisdiction to discipline the elected officials of Alaminos City has been put to rest after the provincial legal officer joined the call to deny the complaint filed by Ruben Morante.
Atty. Geraldine Baniqued declared at the hearing here of a committee of the provincial board that despite the provision brought by Section 51 of the City Charter of Alaminos that it shall be under the jurisdiction of the provincial government she opined that it is still the OP that has the jurisdiction to discipline the officials of the city.
Baniqued’s opinion at the committee chaired by Board Member Alfie Bince bolstered the queries of BM Mojamito Libunao who disputed the arguments of complainant  and school owner Ruben Morante.
Morante, who filled the administrative case against Mayor Hernani Braganza et al., argued that in case there is a conflict between a general law and a special law the latter prevails.
Morante, a harsh critic of Braganza, confidently said that Alaminos is under the jurisdiction of the provincial government.
He stressed that the Local Government Code (LGC) was created in 1992 while the charter of Alaminos as a component city has been signed into a law in 2001.  
He said the older Section 61 of the LGC yields to the newer Section 51 of the City Charter that says “it shall unless otherwise provided by law to be under the province of Pangasinan”.
Sections 61(a)  says ” a complaint against any elective official of a province, a highly urbanized city, an independent component city or component city shall be filed before the Office of the President”,
BM Libunao however told Morante that the charter has a general provision but failed to provide a disciplinary clause, while the Code is specific on its disciplinary clause.
“How could you reconcile that?” he posed to Morante who did not bring a lawyer but argued like one earlier in the hearing.
Morante, the owner of Philippine Accountancy and Science School, filed the administrative case against the elected officials of Alaminos because of their imprimatur to fund the creation of the physical facilities of the Pangasinan State University –Alaminos City for it to cater to marginalized students there.
Before Baniqued and Libunao, a lawyer like Bince, gave their legal opinion, the hearing was marred by confusions whether to implement Sections 61 (a) or 63(a) of the LGC that says “Preventive suspension may be imposed (2) By the governor, if the respondent is an elective official of a component city or municipality”.

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