Embattled Tagbilaran Mayor Dan Lim Takes a Leave of Absence

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"City hall sanitized"
- Vice Mayor Veloso

Bohol Chronicle
May 24, 2009
           

"There is nothing I expect to find as far as evidences of charges filed against the city mayor are concerned during the 27-day leave of the mayor which will take effect tomorrow," said Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso.

He said that while he was quite surprised by the sudden decision of Mayor Dan Lim to go on leave, he could not help but entertain some doubts that the mayor might just be up to "something tricky and I would rather not dare fathom whatever his intentions really are as that merely entails a waste of time."

In a press statement issued yesterday, Vice Mayor Veloso said it will be the courts to decide on the various charges filed against the city mayor. However, he vowed that in the spirit of transparency, he will continue to expose issues of public interest.

Veloso said that with the city mayor's management style, he expected the sensitive offices of the accountant and treasury were already "sanitized" before he left city hall last Friday.

The statement of Veloso came after the city mayor, in his letter to the vice mayor dated May 22, 2009, stated he was voluntarily subjecting himself to "public accountability". The mayor continued by saying "I am doing this to show to the people of my commitment to transparency."

Veloso laughed off the statement of the mayor which was just trying to impress on the people that he is for transparency when in fact it was because of his lack of transparency that caused the majority bloc to hold the supporting documents particularly on the unliquidated cash advances.

"If he is for transparency, why did the mayor not rule for the majority bloc to release the supporting documents of the unliquidated cash advances," Veloso asked. It took the Commission on Audit (COA) Manila to order city hall to release said documents.

"Is this what the mayor calls as transparent," the vice mayor asked.

Lim continued saying in his letter "you are free to look into all the records and documents to your heart's content."

"I am not the court, Mr. Mayor," Veloso said while saying the public should not be fooled on this cheap gimmickry.
         

What the mayor should do is answer the charges filed at the Ombudsman which includes the P6.4 million unliquidated cash advances, the disadvantageous contract of the City Square and the environmental problem, Veloso stressed.

Veloso said that as he assumes as acting mayor effective tomorrow, he will uphold the mandates of the Local Government Code particularly Article 2, Section 456 which provides that the city vice mayor shall exercise the powers and perform the duties and functions of the city mayor in cases of temporary vacancy. This, however excludes the power to appoint, suspend or dismiss employees which can only be exercised if the period of temporary incapacity exceeds 30 working days.

The mayor started his letter saying "in the light of the relentless barrage not only against his person but also against the office that I represent, he arrived at the decision to take a leave from May 23 to June 22, 2009.

Vice Mayor Veloso vowed that he will uphold the tenets of good governance, as he allayed fears of the mayor that "manufactured evidences" will be done during his absence.

This leave of absence is just being done to "draw public perception in his favor," the vice mayor stressed in his press statement sent to the Chronicle yesterday.

"I could hardly decipher the mayor's consistency as to his reason of sacrificing his privilege to serve his constituents for nearly a month when all his reason for this leave of absence is clearly personal. Does it mean to say that he is willing to leave behind his people for personal reasons?" the vice mayor asked.

GOVERNOR'S ORDER

Gov. Erico Aumentado told the Chronicle that he will issue a formal order for Veloso to assume as acting mayor effective tomorrow.

The mayor asked the approval of the governor of his 27-day leave in a letter which the mayor sent to the governor last Friday.

Aumentado will also be asking the chiefs of offices to cooperate with the acting mayor in order to ensure a smooth operation of the city governance.

RADIO PROGRAM

The mayor invited Veloso to his radio program in the barangays in order to give the latter an opportunity to interact with the people.

In his reply letter sent to City ABC Pres. Faro Cabalit, who likewise extended his invitation, Veloso said he will grace the program when it would be necessary since the program does not belong to the office of the mayor but to the Liga ng mga Barangay.

In fact, he said the program is allotted P400,000 per year, a budget assigned to the Liga ng mga Barangay, and not to the office of the city mayor.

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