Is JVR practicing nepotism?

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

ONE of the many issues faced by Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes (JVR) is nepotism. JVR has employed his close relatives, making City Hall look like a family corporation.

Nepotism is the practice of appointing relatives and friends to positions that outsiders might be better qualified for. But if applied sensibly, it is an important practice during a private company’s formative years when complete trust and willingness to work hard (for little or no immediate reward) are critical for its survival.

But in JVR's case, he is in government and not in a private firm.


When Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante delivered a privilege speech before the city council last week criticizing JVR’s topsy-turvy management, he also talked about nepotism. He focused on JVR's son, John Yre, the city administrator. Villarante said John Yre caused the blunders committed by his father.

Villarante claimed that, sometimes, matters already agreed upon by JVR and the Liberal Party (LP) in Talisay never pushed through because of John Yre. Villarante asked JVR
to fire his son.

But the mayor, who cried in front of reporters, stood by his son saying he put him there because he trusts him. I agree with JVR on that. Besides, John Yre is qualified to hold that position and his appointment was even confirmed by the city council headed by Villarante himself.

As I see it, JVR and Villarante’s group are quarreling over the appointment of their political supporters. I learned that during the campaign period they agreed that if they win, JVR and Villarante’s group would have quotas in the appointment of people to City Hall posts.

But JVR reneged on the agreement and filled sensitive positions with his close relatives and “kababayans” from Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte. He also reduced the quota from 50 to only 20 personnel for each councilor. Mind you, those councilors have assured their supporters of employment in City Hall.

That is the cause of their recent conflict.

Recently, I received an email from a City Hall insider containing a list of JVR's relatives now working under him. The sender even attached their pictures. DySS Super Radyo reporter and Cebu Daily News correspondent Gabriel Bonjoc confirmed that some of those in the photos are really working with JVR.

In the list is Myrna, JVR's wife, who heads the women's council. Jim and Joel, JVR's brothers, head a task force and the motor pool respectively.

John Yre is city administrator. His wife, Hayette is in his office. JVR's other sons, John Vent, Clifford and JVR Jr, are in confidential positions under the office of the mayor.

JVR’s sister-in-law, Dorcel, wife of Jim, is designated as pharmacist. His daughter, Irish Mae, is also is also designated as pharmacist, and so too his older sister, Manang Anet. Daughters Johnson Joy and Kent are with the mayor's office.

Jackie, wife of Clifford, is in another office. JVR's nephew Jijie de los Reyes Gatchalian is in the mayor's plantilla. Evelyn de los Reyes, wife JVR Jr., is also designated as pharmacist while Salve Vega, girlfriend of John Vent, is with the office of the city administrator.

Other relatives, Matthew de los Reyes, Roy Villaester and Sherlie Gatchalian, wife of Jijie Gatchalian, are in confidential positions.

The Civil Service Commission (CSC) resolved the case of Rogelio Soria of Ormoc City (Resolution No. 030136) on nepotism citing a Supreme Court jurisprudence.

In the case of Debulgado vs. CSC 237 SCRA 184, the Supreme Court held that the provisions of E.O No. 292, which took effect in 1989 regarding the proscription on nepotic appointments, including promotional appointments, can be traced back to R.A. No. 2260, otherwise known as the Civil Service Law of 1959, which took effect on June 13, 1959.

Section 59 of EO No. 292 is substantially identical with Section 30 of RA No. 2260. This is also true with Section 49 of PD No. 807 also known as the Civil Service Decree of the Philippines, which took effect on Oct. 6, 1975.

The common provision in these three laws reads: Nepotism (1) “All appointments in the national, provincial, city and municipal governments or in any branch or instrumentality thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations, made in favor of a relative of the appointing or recommending authority or the chief of the bureau or office or of the persons exercising immediate supervision over him are hereby prohibited.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 26, 2014.


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