But what about Dan Cartagena?

WELL…well it does look like things are going to be interesting in city hall these coming days.

Just when the natives of “I Am Iloilo City” have resigned to the fact that the incoming Sangguniang Panlungsod appears to have all the symptoms of another rubberstamp city council, here comes lawyer Dan Cartagena “throwing a spanner in the works.”

I’m almost certain Dan Cartagena did not do it just to rain on “I Am Iloilo City” mayor Geronimo Treñas a.k.a. Mayor Jerry Treñas’ “Level Up” parade but to right what he believes is wrong – that is, according to his legal expertise and I’m sure he has plenty of that.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Excerpts from the June 27, 2019 issue of Panay News:

Cartagena seeks to be proclaimed 12th councilor

Lawyer Dan Cartagena, who ran for one of the 12 seats in the Sangguniang Panlungsod

 (SP) in the May 13 midterm elections and placed No. 13, is seeking to be proclaimed the

 12th winning city councilor, citing the death of re-elected Councilor Armand Parcon.

He filed before the Supreme Court a petition for mandamus, injunction with application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order.

Cartagena named as respondents the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

According to Cartagena, Section 45 of the Local Government Code (LGC) cannot be applied to the SP 2019-2022 but only to the remaining unexpired term of Parcon in the SP 2016-2019.

Section 45 of the LGC stated that in case of an SP vacancy, “the appointee shall come from the same political party as that of the Sangguniang member who caused the vacancy and shall serve the unexpired term of the vacant office.”

“Parcon was not yet a member of the SP 2019-2022 because he was not able to take his oath of office and he had not assumed office yet. Indi sya pwede matawag nga member of SP 2019-2022,” asserted Cartagena.

Parcon died of pneumonia 10 days after his re-election. He ranked No. 2 and was proclaimed the winner by the Comelec. However, he was not able to take his oath of office yet.

“The appointee to the SP vacancy could only serve the unexpired term of Parcon from the time he expired until June 30 next week,” said Cartagena.

In his Supreme Court petition, Cartagena prayed that the Comelec be directed to reconvene the Board of Canvassers and proclaim him as the 12th winning candidate for the SP.

“Atty. Dan Cartagena who is No. 13 is the most practical choice to be declared the No. 12 winner. This choice is the most convenient and inexpensive, and is reflective of the will of the electorate,” he stressed.

Cartagena said he included the DILG as respondent so that it could be restrained, “nga indi sila mag-process, facilitate kag magpadayon kon ano man nga application for appointment under Section 45 of the Local Government Code because that is not sanctioned by law.”

Interesting to say the least. Based on the opinion of Cartagena, he could very well be right. Although he benefits from it, still it will right what is probably a wrong in the interpretation of the law.

And before any misguided idiot starts screaming “necropolitics” (reelected councilor Armand Parcon died a natural death without so much funfare and he is already buried) there is nothing political about his death although unfortunate.

What is political about this “peep show” is that if the Supreme Court rules in favour of lawyer Dan Cartagena’s petition for mandamus, injunction with application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order, it will change the whole scenario of the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

In my usual coffee shop crawls for my usual caffeine fix, talks among the restless coffee shop habituates hover around the incoming Sangguniang Panlungsodand their symptoms of that malady called “rubber stamp city council.”

They were already reminiscing the days of the “dynamic duo” – former “I Am Iloilo City” councilors Joshua Alim and Plaridel Nava, true oppositionists but never obstructionists, and incidentally seasoned lawyers, too.

If the Supreme Court does indeed rule in favour of Dan Cartagena’s petition, then all is not lost. The people will still have a voice in the city council.

So what about Dan Cartagena? Will he be No. 12?

Well, there’s this little thing called the DILG Opinion No.24 Series of 2016 which has a rather important bearing on that petition and Dan Cartagena has to successfully refute and hurdle it. ([email protected]/PN)  

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