JVR’s gambit

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

CONTROVERSIES are hounding Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes. His order to padlock the office of Talisay City College OIC president Ritchie Bacaltos is one of them. The other is his hiring of relatives in City Hall, which his allies have resented.

So it was a big slap to the mayor’s face that he was not able to prevent Bacaltos from reopening his office. Had he asserted his power, he would have blocked Bacaltos from doing that. But in the first place, JVR should not have ordered the closure
considering there is a pending case on the issue of legitimacy on his appointment of Dr. Paulus Marie Cañete and on Bacaltos holding on to power.

JVR appointed Cañete even without the concurrence of the school’s board of trustees.


Bacaltos clings to power, claiming that he will only step down and honor the appointment of Cañete if there is a resolution from the board of trustees. Because of the impasse, Bacaltos went to court. The case is scheduled to be heard next month. JVR should have shown the court respect by not initiating a move to oust Bacaltos because of the pending case. Why in a hurry?

The issue is simple. Even if he is the chairman of the board of trustees and in his capacity as mayor, JVR cannot simply oust Bacaltos and appoint Cañete. The board of trustees is a collegial body and being such, the decision of the majority should prevail. If he has the power and influence, why can’t JVR convince the other board members to pass a resolution ousting Bacaltos and appointing Cañete? Maybe he should use some friendly persuasion.

It is because majority of the board members are identified with former first district congressman Eduardo Gullas and Bacaltos was a Gullas appointee through former mayor Soc Fernandez? Well, that’s JVR problem. On the other hand, if Bacaltos had delicadeza and to avoid further damage to the institution why doesn’t he just step down? But since the issue is now pending before the court, let the court decide. In the meantime, both parties should show the court some respect by not initiating any drastic and illegal move.

It is sad to note that while they are quarreling as to who is the legitimate president, the non-teaching personnel are in a quandary about their monthly salary.

They haven’t received it since January. JVR promised to release their salary but on the condition that they sign an agreement automatically disengaging their services. 

I know JVR is a religious person. I am appealing to him to immediately act on this issue. Please take pity on the plight of your own employees, Mr. Mayor. It’s not good before the eyes of the Lord that people are crying for help and you are not doing something. If you can afford to help other people through your philanthropic work why can’t you help those who work with you? Set aside politics Mr. JVR because the issue here is no longer about politics but survival.

On the issue about their possible political breakup with Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante after the latter criticized JVR for hiring his relatives. JVR should review his political strategy to win back the trust of his allies.

I don’t know how many relatives JVR has hired in City Hall. But if Villarante was referring to key positions like the city administrator, I think he is wrong. It’s the prerogative of the chief executive who to hire because the person who occupies the position should have the full trust and confidence of the chief executive. And as long as he is qualified, JVR’s son John Yre is qualified for the position and no less than the City Council headed by Villarante approved his appointment. You cannot put people you cannot trust in that sensitive position. Well, Villarante or anybody can file a complaint against JVR before the Civil Service Commission or the ombudsman for nepotism.

On JVR reneging on his promise to give each councilor, whether an ally or a member of the opposition, a quota of 50 personnel that he later cut down to 20, I think he committed a blunder. If I were in the shoes of the councilors I would have resented the move since I may have already promised some of my supporters they would have a job at City Hall once in power. Usahay god ni si JVR mag-una ang estorya. Sobra ra ka maayong tawo. O ba kaha nabag-uhan sa gahum. 


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 17, 2014.


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